Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) wednesday revealed that it has scaling up its support plan for children suffering from malnutrition in the North-east by 400 per cent.
UNICEF had enrolled 12,000 children in its malnutrition treatment plan, but has decided to increase the number to 48,000.
Speaking in Maiduguri, Borno State, after leading a team to the state to assess the success of intervention in humanitarian crisis in the state, the Deputy Executive Director, Programmes and Emergencies of the United Nations Children’s Fund, Mr. Omar Abdi, revealed that the agency has scaled up its treatment to about 48,000 children suffering from malnutrition at all the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps across the state and the North-east sub region of Nigeria.
Abdi also disclosed that UNICEF has mapped out support for the education of children at the IDPs camps and rehabilitation centers towards improving the standard of children’s education especially the girl child.
The UNICEF deputy executive director who addressed a press conference after concluding a two-day visit to the state, said he was in the state to assess the emergency situations of children at IDPs camps and other rehabilitation centres as well as discuss with the security agencies, development and other humanitarian partners including the state government and other stakeholders in the management of the IDP camps.
He said from the visits and discussions held with all the relevant authorities involved in humanitarian activities and support to the children and IDPs, UNICEF has decided to increase support to the state government in the areas of girl-child education and make available to school age students educational facilities and training materials.
Abdi said the team noted during their visit that there was inadequate space, instructional materials and teaching personnel.
He said UNICEF would also provide support to the Nigerian military to continue to provide adequate security for lives and property of the children and IDPs at the camps and other rehabilitation centres.
The UNICEF deputy director said the UN would further support the government in education, security and environmental sanitation towards effective service delivery to children at the camps and centres.
Abdi said UNICEF was highly concerned about the provision of nutritional food to the children including the orphans.
He said plans were underway to identify the children and orphans with their immediate and extended families for the purpose of their upbringing, education, security and maintenance among others based on the cultural norms and values of the African communities.