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UNICEF urges FG, states to take MICs 2021 report seriously, make favourable policies

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned the federal and state governments to take the 2021 Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICs) as a guide to take important decisions and make policies to save the lives of under-five children.

UNICEF made the call in a one-day media dialogue on the dissemination of the Multiple Indicator cluster survey (MICs) 2021 report organised by UNICEF Enugu and Port Harcourt field offices in collaboration with the Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State in Port Harcourt within the week.

The survey was conducted in 2021 to assess the percentage of children aged 12-23 months who received vaccines that are scheduled to be given in the first years of life.

According to UNICEF, the survey was commissioned by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) and conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) under guidance from UNICEF as part of the 2021 multiple Indicator cluster survey.

The meeting was attended by journalists and some media executives drawn from 12 states in the two UNICEF field offices of Enugu and Port Harcourt.

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Introducing the objectives of the meeting Ijeoma Onuoha-Ogwe, UNICEF communication officer, Enugu Field Office, said the meeting was to galvanize actions to inspire the government and other stakeholders to take favourable actions for the interest of women and children.

It was also meant to ginger journalists to increase their reportage for children and women issues as it relates MICs 2021 reports that they should give more attention to children and women than politics and politicians because it is all about the life of the nation.

Journalists were also advised to critically present their reports for the audience to fully understand among others.

From the 2021 MICs report presented by Maureen Zubie-Okolo, UNICEF planning, monitoring and evaluation specialist, the indicators, both at the federal and states are not healthy ranging from exclusive breastfeeding, nutrition, child birth among others.

The report shows that only 34 percent of nursing mothers in Nigeria practice exclusive breastfeeding.

Stanley Job, chairman, NUJ, Rivers State council, while speaking on the issue, advised media practitioners in Nigeria to give more attention to issues of children and women that can save lives than focusing on politics.

The union explained that such activities and programmes like those organised by UNICEF to ensure protection of lives and rights of children and women should be given more space and air time in various media houses.

“We seem to focus more on politics and politicians, neglecting these all important areas. It is said that what is not reported, did not take place,” he noted.