High Number Of Unimmunised Children Threatens Sokoto’s Future

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With over 50 per cent of unimmunised children in Sokoto State, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has predicted that the state might, in the future, be confronted with issues of unhealthy children who won’t be able to compete favourably, in national and international spaces, and therefore contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the state and the nation.

The recently released result of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) that was produced by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and sponsored by UNICEF, predicted the doom for Sokoto State and suggested urgent action from the State Government to correct the anomaly and salvage the future of the state.

The MICS Report also revealed that Sokoto State (22.5%) and Jigawa (23.6%) have the lowest levels of birth registration, with Lagos state and FCT recording the highest levels of birth registration at 94 per cent and 87 per cent, respectively.

UNICEF Chief of Measurement for Result (M4R), Claes Johanson, who gave a further breakdown of the MICS Report at a two-day media dialogue organised by UNICEF for reporters in Port harcourt, on Tuesday, said the situation can be changed for better if the state government officials rise to the occasion and take the necessary steps that would facilitate the needed changes.

He promised that UNICEF will continue to provide financial and logistic support to any cause that would promote better and improved health and welfare of Nigerians, especially amongst children under the age of five.

He made reference to Sokoto’s neighbouring State, Kebbi, which has recorded significant improvement in child immunisation as represented in the MICS Report when compared to the previous MICS report conducted five years ago.

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He encouraged Sokoto State officials to take a cue from Kebbi and other states which, hitherto, had unimpressive figure, but had improved significantly as presented by the newly released MICS Report.

Meanwhile, the MICS Report revealed that Ekiti (2%) and Imo states (1%) have lowest number of out-of-school children, while the highest number of out-of-school children are found Kebbi (65%), Zamfara (61%) and Bauchi States (61%)

Similarly, the Report indicated that Bauchi (55%) and Katsina states (50%) recorded largest proportions of children exposed to child labour at age 5-17, while the smallest proportions of children engaged in child labour are found in Lagos (10%) and Ondo (9%).

The MICS Report also indicated that Enugu (4%) and Lagos States (3%) have the lowest levels of child marriage, while the highest levels are in Bauchi (74%) and Jigawa (72%), meaning that three out of every 10 women aged 20-24 years (30%) were married or in union before their 18th birthday. “This is a decrease of 14% points from five years ago.”

Kwara and Ekiti States led with the highest level of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), while the lowest levels of FGM among women aged 15-49 years are found in Gombe (0%) and Zamfara (0%).

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