Contry Director, Save the Children International, Nigeria (SCIN) Mercy Gichuhi has said, Nigerian children deserve
resilient education and health system that can withstand shocks of any future pandemics.
Gichuhi’s advice is coming as the international organisation donated items worth over N7.5m as part of its intervention programme to support the health and wellbeing of mothers and children in Lagos State during the covid-19 pandemic.
Gichuhi observed, “As the Nigerian government plans to re-open schools after prolonged closures, it is necessary to think about how to build a resilient education system to withstand future shocks, and also to ensure that an emergency education plan is mainstreamed into the contingency plan of the entire country”,
Gichuhi gave the advice as the international organisation launched the report of a survey which revealed how covid-19 pandemic exposed the weakness in the country’s system that was unable to hold the people in the face of a global pandemic.
The not-for profit Organisation with focus on prevention and treatment of pneumonia in infant and children donated Infection Prevention Consumables such as protective gears, hand sanitizers, face masks, buckets, soaps handwash bowls and stands among other materials to 21 health facilities in Ikorodu Local Government Area of Lagos State to cushion the effect of covid-19 pandemic among clients using the Primary Health centres and General Hospitals in the LGA.
Speaking at the launch of the survey, Gichuhi noted that Nigerian government would need to build social safety nets and strong health and nutrition systems, especially for the most vulnerable and marginalized households
According to Gichuhi, “Resources are also urgently needed for positive parenting programmes, to ensure children have access to inclusive protection services during and after lockdowns where they can be supported if they’ve fallen victim to abuse, violence of or exploitation, and to support children’s mental health and psychosocial wellbeing.
Nigerian Girl Advocate Aisha Idris Nakano said, “School closure have direct impact on us, the children. As plans are ongoing to re-open the schools for us to continue learning, I suggest that the Nigerian Government should ensure that preventive measures are put in place for children in schools. Overcrowded classrooms should be avoided; maybe the schools should be split into morning and afternoon classes.”
Another advocate, Girl Champion Purity Oriaifo observed, “Due to school closures, so many children can no longer retain what they’ve learnt in their previous classes. Even when the schools finally re-open, there will not be sufficient time for revision of what we have learnt and missed in the curriculum. That’s a big challenge for us as children”.
The Save the Children Nigeria urges federal government to make sure children out of school have access to quality distance learning materials, that catch up classes are offered to children who have fallen behind, and that all children have equal access to learning after schools reopen.
Director, Family Health and Nutrition, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr Folashade Oludara appreciated the SCIN for the gesture at Ikorodu LGA saying, “There is no doubt that the items arrived at the right time when resources are already stretched to meet so many people oriented interventions to cushion the effects of covid-19 in the state.
She promised that health workers who would be using the items in the various facilities would ensure these are not wasted but well utilized to protect mothers and their children as well as themselves from infections of covid-19.