The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has declared that the state government will partner with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) to ensure the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the state.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by the UNICEF Country Representative, Mr Mohammed Fall to the Government House, Port Harcourt, last Thursday, Wike directed relevant state government agencies to step up their performance for the expected improvement in key areas.
He said that the state government has established structures to ensure improvements in the areas of immunization, children and maternal healthcare as well as sanitation.
The governor decried the fact that the state government was yet to attain 100 per cent immunization coverage, pointing out that the Ministry of Health and relevant agencies have been directed to work round the clock to record improvement.
“Anything pertaining to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals will be tackled for the benefit of our people.
“We must progressively improve in all the areas where we are yet to attain 100 percent. We must take vital steps to ensure we move at a pace where everyone will be happy”, Wike said.
The governor added that the state government will engage in advocacy in the areas of breastfeeding and immunisation.
Earlier, the Country Representative of UNICEF, Mr Mohammed Fall commended Wike for the regular payment of counterpart funds for critical United Nations programmes.
He solicited partnership with the Rivers State Government to deepen areas of cooperation for the attainment of greater results for the population.
Fall sought for the leadership of the governor for the consistent growth in the areas of the reduction of child and maternal mortality, improved immunisation and breastfeeding, so that Rivers State will be a reference point in Nigeria and the sub-region.
He regretted that the statistics for Nigeria in the areas of maternal mortality, child mortality and access to primary education are not encouraging.
The UNICEF representative said if Nigeria attains the Sustainable Development Goals, it will impact positively on the continent.
NGO Seeks Media Collaboration On Climate Change
A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in the Niger Delta under the auspices of Kebetkache Women Development And Resource Centre has called for media collaboration on climate change.
The organisation made the call in during a media strategy meeting with journalists in Port Harcourt.
The meeting, which centred on “Community Media Collaboration for Climate Justice”, was held in collaboration with Oxfam Nigeria.
Media practitioners drawn from Rivers and Akwa Ibom states were urged to focus on how to enhance media reportage on climate change issues in the Niger Delta region.
They were also charged to come up with campaign on how to mitigate the effect of climate change in host communities, especially as it negatively affects women in the Niger Delta region.
Speaking during the meeting, the Kebetkache Executive Director, Emem Okon, appealed for synergy among government agencies with a view to providing workable framework that would address climate change challenges in rural areas.
Okon noted that the absence of coordination by government agencies had led to environmental challenges in the Niger Delta, adding that many residents of oil bearing communities are victims of the effects of climate change caused by oil exploration activities by multinationals.
She said, “If we really look at climate change manifestations in the Niger Delta, it is mainly people in rural communities, particularly the women that are impacted.
“We are looking at situations where oil extraction activities have resulted in the emission of green house gas that has caused global warming and has also resulted in climate change.
“So, we are having this situation in the Niger Delta, particularly in Rivers State, where community members are faced with the challenge of flooding every year, particularly since 2012 when we had that major flooding.
“Climate change is affecting food security, and causing crisis. The issue of farmers and herders crisis, people assume, is only experienced in the northern part of Nigeria, but it is also experienced in the Niger Delta region.
“But these challenges at the community level are not really out there because the community women that are directly impacted would not readily have that access to the media.”
She recalled that two years ago, one of the Ogoni women community groups that Kebetkache Women Development Centre worked with, under the auspices of Gbobia Fefeloo, planted 2,000 trees across the four local government areas in Ogoniland.
She, however, expressed dismay that the group’s effort was not reported by the media, hence the reason Oxfam and Kebetkache have decided to improve media relations so that community women would feel free to discuss with the media on climate change.
She emphasised that in collaborating with the media, the public would appreciate more the challenges that rural communities are experiencing.
The Executive Director appealed to delegates to the forthcoming 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Egypt to project issues of climate change and the people of the Niger Delta region during the conference.
Highlights of the event was the inauguration of a group known as ‘Niger Delta Journalists For Environmental Justice,’ chaired by Chief Constance Mefor, with Pius Dukor as Secretary.
Mefor, in her acceptance speech, expressed the group’s commitment towards a better, safer, cleaner and a richer Niger Delta region.
PMTCT: RSG Inaugurates 115 Health Workers
As part of efforts to improve prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV/AIDS coverage, the Rivers State Government has inaugurated 115 PMTCT healthcare providers to work in the 23 Local Government Areas (LGA) of the State.
The inauguration, which took place during the week in Port Harcourt, has a 5-man team in each LGA to monitor the availability of testing capacity in various facilities in the State.
The team comprises the Medical Officers of Health (MOH), Deputy Primary Healthcare Coordinators, HIV/AIDS Desk officers, Local Action Committee on AIDS (LACA), as well as Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Officers of the 23 LGAs.
In his goodwill message, the Director, Disease Control, Primary Healthcare Management Board (PHCMB), Dr. Ekanem Nyaranwo, charged the healthcare providers to monitor the quality of Mother-To-Child-Transmission(MTCT) of HIV/AIDS services delivered by antenatal care providers in health facilities, Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs), and other unskilled provider locations in the communities to ensure that all pregnant women in the State are captured.
“I want to say here that only abou two percent of our pregnant women attend antenatal care services. You need to get to the healthcare facilities to ascertain their HIV status.
“The team should ensure that every pregnant woman seen by all service providers are tested, and testing services rendered at unskilled providers’ platforms, when diagnosed positive, should be linked to treatment”, he said.
In her presentation on the “Role of the LGA Team in PMTCT Scale-up”, Dr. Mekele Igwe, the HIV/AIDS Desk Officer, PHCMB, explained that each team at the LGA will support and monitor the utilization of the dual HIV kits at service delivery points.
They are also to develop a schedule to ensure that all antenatal care providers are visited at least once every six months, and to ensure that reporting of data generated from every service delivery point is submitted to the hub facility monthly in order to ensure accurate reporting at the LGA.
While inaugurating the teams, the South-South Coordinator of Journalists Alliance for PMTCT in Nigeria (JAPiN), Sogbeba Dokubo, charged the various teams to improve on PMTCT coverage towards ensuring elimination of MTCT in Rivers State.
She noted that “every single pregnancy is important for us to get to the point that no child in Rivers State is born with HIV”.
In his response, the Obio/Akpor Medica Officer for Health, Dr. Stanley Amadi, who spoke on behalf of members of the team, thanked the organizers of the programme, assuring that they would do everything possible to overcome the challenges facing PMTCT programme in the State.
By: Sogbeba Dokubo
Rotary Club Unveils Peace Bill Board
Rotary Club of Port Harcourt, has marked this year’s International Day of Peace with the unveiling of a bill board in Port Harcourt.
Speaking, to The Tide shortly after the unveiling on Wednesday in Port Harcourt, the President of Rotary Club of Port Harcourt, Rumuogba Golden, Rtn (Mrs) Ngozi Okwum called on Nigerians to embrace peace saying that if there is peace, the world will be a better place to stay.
She said that the main focus of Rotarians is to preach peace adding that they are advocating for peace and that is why they built a billboard so that everybody will embrace the message on the bill board.
According to her, five clubs are here to commensurate the International Day of Peace together, pointing out that Rotary promotes peace, diversity, equity and inclusion.
“Theme of this year celebration is “End Racism, Build Peace”.
“Today is International Day of Peace being celebrated worldwide. We have come here to mark this year with the unveiling of this bill board.
“We are five clubs that are here to commensurate the International Day of Peace and our focus Rotarians is to preach peace.
“The world should embrace peace. If there is peace the world will be a better place to stay. “Conflicts and war disorganise and destroy people, so when there is peace, the people will be happy,” Okwum said.
Also speaking the President of Rotary Club PH Express, Rtn Chinedu Mbeyi expressed gratitude for the International Day of Peace celebration, adding that the Rotary Club cherishes peace very well.
He said that peace is one of the seven areas of focus of Rotarians, stressing that Rotary believes that if there is peace in the world, a lot of development will come and there will be less hunger in the land. Rotary does not play with peace. That is what we are commensurating today to shun violence, conflict, cultism, drug abuse and to seek and embrace peace, love, unity,” he stated.
The billboard was unveiled by the Assistant Governor, Zone 30, Rtn Jerus Uriegbhara.
The other clubs which partnered with the club are Rotary Port Harcourt Passport; Rotary Port Harcourt Creek View and Port Harcourt Ceapoly.
By: Kiadum Edookor
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