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UN assures Nigeria of continued multifaceted support on centenary

Abuja, Nigeria- The United Nations Under-Secretary General Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, who represented the UN Secretary General Mr Ban Ki-Moon at the country’s 100 years of unification celebrations graced by 45 heads of Government, praised Nigeria for its commitment to nation-building, peacekeeping efforts, assuring the country of UN’s continued support in its development efforts within the framework of their multi-faceted partnership.

In a message he read on behalf of the Secretary General, the UNFPA Executive DirectorOsotimehin said Nigeria, a leading actor on the regional and global stage, is widely recognized for its commitment to nation-building and democratization, including its continuing efforts to end poverty, build a vibrant economy, fight corruption and promote sustainable development.

UNFPA Executive Director paid tribute to Nigeria for its strong commitment to collective security under the UN Charter, including its greatly appreciated peacekeeping effort in the sub-region and preventive diplomacy roles.

The Executive Director said that the UN especially look forward to accompanying the government in enhancing peace and security in the sub-region, including by addressing the issues of terrorism, organized crime and piracy.

UNFPA ED represents UN SG at the Nigeria's centenary of 100yrs

Furthermore, Dr Osotimehin said, “the United Nations will continue to collaborate with Nigeria in embracing the opportunities and confronting the challenges of the next century… The United Nations will continue to support the country’s efforts in the promotion and protection of human rights for all Nigerians, in line with international legal standards”.

The celebrations mark 100 years since the British Empire decided to merge the Northern and Southern Protectorates into one.

UNFPA Executive Director hails successful health initiatives in Nigeria

During the mission Dr Babatunde Osotimehin met with the Ministers of Finance, Women Affairs & Social Development and the Minister of Health all of whom he assured of UNFPA’s commitment and stronger partnership in their areas of work.

In his courtesy call to the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Dr Ado Muhammed, the UNFPA Executive Director commended the Federal Government on its 80% coverage during routine immunisation initiative, which has led to a reduction in polio cases in the country.

This initiative had brought down child mortality rate in Nigeria, and this success stories needed to be reported, especially to the international community, he said.

He also commended government’s Human Resource for Health Initiative, which introduced the Midwife Service Scheme (MSS) which has also provided a means of reaching out to other health workers to carry out basic health needs in the hospitals.

Osotimehin said the ability to provide universal healthcare for all Nigerians is an indication that the health system is on track, while expressing delight that other health care workers are given the same priority as midwives for the provision of quality health care to all.

“When we look at the issues of what a midwife does, even a village health worker should be able to take weight, test urine do things which does not require to have been the midwife.

“But I think being able to do that and do it effectively is what would strengthen the system because what we lacked all along is the ability to provide care for women and girls, close to where they live,” he pointed out.

Osotimehin stressed the need for effective monitoring and evaluation of activities of health workers at the primary health care centres, saying this will promote accountability and sustainability of the scheme.

On family planning, the UNFPA Executive Director said efforts should focus on promoting access to such services in all centres as well as consider long term methods, stressing the need for cooperation between the NPHCDA and the Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) Maternal and Child Health programme, to benefit all Nigerians.

Osotimehin said there is a high demand for long term family planning methods, and government needs to give priority to this area. “We need to explore the possibility of training community health extension workers on, because this is the way to go”.

The Executive Director, accompanied by the Director of West and Central Africa Region, Benoît Kalasa and the acting UNFPA Representative to Nigeria Ms Ratidzai Ndhlovu also paid a courtesy call on the chairman of SURE-P.

On the side-lines of his trip to Nigeria, Dr Osotimehin and his team held meetings with the United Nations country team and the UNFPA staff. He called on staff to re-synergise in their work and ensure that all their good work should be told and documented accordingly. He stressed the importance of using disaggregated data to tell successes and showcase the results.