Health

Benue is 4th best in routine immunization – Ngbea

By Jovitta Iorshase

The Benue State Commissioner for Health and Human  Services, Dr Joseph Ngbea has said the state ranks fourth best in the country in routine immunization.

He disclosed this while declaring open the commemoration of the International Day of African Child and International Youth Day 2022 held Tuesday at the Benue State Staff Development Centre, Makurdi.

Dr Ngbea said, the day was declared by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) after more than 100 black children in Soweto, South Africa were shot dead by the Police during a protest. He noted that the day was meant to contest the poor educational conditions and other injustices meted on them and their parents in I976 and is commemorated every August 16th to felicitate with other deprived children.

The commissioner said: “To keep the health of our children and youths safe, the state government, through her health lieutenants have worked rigorously to curtail childhood diseases and significantly reduce the HIV viral load among youths to enable them live positively.”

According to him, work was all almost completed at General Hospitals in Gboko and Katsina-Ala which when completed would improve the health of the people. He called on parents to make sure their children have all the necessary immunization, and to caution their children from involving in vices.

In his welcome remark, the  Executive Secretary, Benue State AIDS Control Agency (BenSACA), Dr Ephraim Tyo appreciated UNICEF for the efforts put forth in transforming the lives of the adolescent and youths through training.

He said, all African children deserve good life and education and efforts should be made by everyone to improve the educational conditions of the nation, starting from primary  education.

Dr Tyo called on UNICEF to extend the programme to all the local governments in the state and charged the participants to see themselves as all winners and continue to do their best to improve the conditions of their communities without relenting, regardless of who emerged the winner in the competition.

“I suggest that the programme be extended to all the local governments and I thank all the partners for helping the state through the holistic transformation given to the youths trained,” he said.

The National AIDS Control Agency (NACA) representative, Mrs Regina Ameh, extending the regards from the Director General NACA, Dr Gambo Aliyu promised to continue to support the state by always engaging youths/adolescents in various programmes.

The UNICEF Lead Trainer and Executive Secretary, Primary Health Services Board, Mrs Ashi Wende, expressed joy that what she started since 2019 during the COVID-19 pandemic period to engage the youth from idleness and vices, has matured into reality, especially those in Gboko and Otukpo Local Governments. She appreciated traditional leaders, pastors in those local governments, BenSACA and the youths for making the dream a reality.

UNICEF representative, Mr Okpeyemi Adeniyi, giving a break down of the activities said, so far 600 youths have been trained from 12 communities of the state in various skills, self awareness and development.

Adeniyi, who explained that the trainings would make a better nation appealed to parents to support the adolescent projects which is going on in most of the states in the county.

Representatives of APIN, AHF, NEPHWAN, UNFPA, NYNETHA, BENGONET in their goodwill messages all appreciated UNICEF’s efforts and pledged more of their support.

The event also featured competition varieties like, quartet drama, dance and songs, speak out/debate, quiz, Adokits creativity/skills expo, arts, crafts, drawing, painting and community action between team Gboko and team Otukpo. Team Gboko emerged winner of the competition.

The theme of this year’s celebration is: “Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children: Progress on Policy and Practice since 2013.”

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