The National Orientation Agency (NOA) and the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) have urged parents, especially mothers as well as community leaders to support the campaign against female genital mutilation.
The bodies, who are also campaigning against other unhealthy practices, said these cases are mostly prevalent in the rural areas, adding that it can lead to child mortality.
Speaking at a one-day forum organized for Town union and women leaders in Owerri, Imo state capital, the Director, National Orientation Agency in Imo State, Mr. Vitus Ekeocha, said the aim of the forum is to re-awaken the consciousness of community leaders on the need to promote actions that would help reduce maternal mortality and infant morbidity.
He also stressed that rural community dwellers pay more attention to the provision of infrastructure and other social needs while issues bothering on health are being neglected.
In a most recent Multi Indicator Cluster Survey (MIC 4) report published by Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that as far as the wellbeing of children is concerned, significant challenges still remain in the South-Eastern states, as infant mortality stands at 74 per 1000 births in Abia, 71 in Anambra, 77 in Ebonyi, 81 in Enugu and 116 in Imo.
The report also shows that issues of crucial practices for preventing diseases and deaths among children such as sanitary means of excreta disposal is equally low as population affected in this practise in Abia stands at 35.8 percent, Anambra 46.9 percent, Ebonyi 18.7 percent, Enugu 22 and Imo 60 percent.
Also Speaking at the forum, the Resource person and former UNICEF Desk Officer in the state, Mrs. Ngozi Dike, said it is imperative to be better informed and motivated to integrate communities to address issues of child survival, development, protection and participation in their various town union meetings and community gatherings especially on issues bothering on maternal and infant mortality, HIV/AIDS, Malaria prevention, ante-natal care for mothers and good hygiene and sanitation system.
Participants at the forum said things learnt here will go a long way in saving their lives and that of their children if they endeavour to put it into practice.
205 communities drawn from 18 out 27 Local Governments Areas of Imo State benefited from the exercise.