The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has re-emphasized its commitment to work with the media to ensure Child Rights issues are widely communicated with duty bears and stakeholders called to action and held accountable for preserving the climate and increasing chances of children to survival and development.
The Chief of UNICEF Field Office, Enugu, Juliet Chiluwe stated this during a two-multi zonal media dialogue with On-Air- Personalities (OAPs) on climate resilience and integration of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) with Immunization services in Nigeria..The theme was ‘World Children’s Day 2023: Climate resilience and Action by Duty Bearers.’
The event with participants drawn from 12 states from South East and South-South geo-political zones of Nigeria, was organised by UNICEF Enugu Field Office in collaboration with Broadcasting Corporation of Abia state,(BCA).
Chiluwe said that over the years communicating Children’s rights remained a huge challenge, with broad range of abuses against children and neglect emanating from ignorance of what constitutes child’s rights.
“This is where the media has critical role to play in creating awareness among the public and key actors for children and I am proud to say that media remains UNICEF’s very close ally in ensuring wider information spread on issues of child rights,” she said.
She also noted that UNICEF was aware of the changing climate, with human activity being primary factor in the acceleration of climate change over the past century, saying that the scientific evidence is available and overwhelming.
“Regardless of how successful humans have been at limiting the root cause of our warming planet, society is facing significant impacts – from more frequent and severe weather, ocean warming and acidification, extended periods of drought and extreme temperatures, and other adverse effects of climate change.
“As part of activities marking the 2023 World Children’s Day, through the U-Report project, UNICEF is partnering with schools on tree planting to create a more conducive climate.
Today’s occasion provides ample opportunity to partner with OAPs through their media stations especially in increasing awareness and chances of slowing down the worsening effects of the changing climate,” she said.
Explaining the objectives/expected output of the dialogue, Ijeoma Onuoha-Ogwe, Communication Officer, UNICEF, Enugu, Field Office said that the engagement of the 30 OAPs from various electronic stations was to increase awareness on climate resilience and call on duty bearers to go into action.
She said that the meeting also intended to form alliance with the OAPs for quality child rights programmes, to be aired more frequently in their stations.
On the issue of Human papillomavirus. (HPV) UNICEF Health specialist Olusoji Akinleye and Chikezie Obasi, Consultants community medicine Enugu State University Teaching Hospital spoke extensively on HPV Campaign in Nigeria, impact and progress on Adolescent girls and why girls between the ages of 9 and 14 should be allowed to take the vaccines to safeguard their future.
Akinleye further explained the role of UNICEF on HPV drive to include supporting Ministry of Health technically, providing logistics, pointing out that the UNICEF leads in making the vaccines used in Nigeria and also make them available every where, support state primary health development agencies, among others.
The states that participated include, Anambra, Imo, Kogi, Benue,, Enugu, Abia, Rivers, Delta, Ebonyi, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa.