By Asma’u Ahmad
The United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) says it has introduced a programme “State Engagement Planning (SEP)’’ to improve health care service delivery and block wastage of resources.
The Head of UNICEF Field Office in Sokoto, Mr Paul Mudzongo, made this known in Gusau, Zamfara on Tuesday at the opening of a two – day stakeholders meeting to prepare the 2018-2022 SEP programme for the state.
He said the new initiative would accelerate achievement of results in areas of intervention as well as also identify and agree with other partners on how best to prioritise convergence of support to communities.
According to him, under the arrangement, both UNICEF and other support partners will have a better understanding with the state on how to improve the indices of success in the state which have suffered setbacks in the past.
“We will also make it clearer that the state government will have to own and lead all areas of intervention, while as partners, we will offer support to such programmes,’’ he explained.
The UNICEF officer said more attention would be given to the areas of provision of clean drinking water, healthcare delivery, sanitation, education and nutrition.
He noted that the coming together of the partners under one umbrella would facilitate alignment in budgeting, enhance value for money and fast-track the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mudzongo said under SEP, UNICEF would also involve private sector and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
This the UNICEF official said would enable the organisations to build on existing systems to significantly reduce child abuse, malnutrition, stunting as well as improve school enrollment, especially among girls as well immunization of children under five years.
He urged states under the Sokoto Field Office, which include Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara to put in their best “because we will introduce intra and interstate competition among you.’’
Newsmen report that participants at the meeting were drawn from the state Ministry of Health, and the media among others.