UNICEF has handed over essential medicines worth US$438,972 to the governments of Yobe and Borno States, as part of efforts to improve maternal, neonatal and child survival and health outcomes in conflict-affected communities in north-east Nigeria.
A statement on Wednesday from the UN agency said UNICEF will also support the implementation of the Primary Health Care Memorandum of Understanding it signed with the States with an additional US$500,000.
UNICEF lamented in the statement that for 13 years, women and children have paid the highest cost of the conflict in north-east Nigeria. In 2020, each day of conflict claimed the lives of 170 children from direct and indirect causes, and reduced access to health services.
It also decried that a quarter of health facilities in north-east Nigeria have been destroyed or are non-functional, while a shortage of health workers and essential drugs has impeded the delivery of quality health services to pregnant women, newborns and children. The conflict has contributed to disease outbreaks and worsening child malnutrition in the region.
UNICEF Chief of Maiduguri Field Office, Phuong Nguyen said: “We are laying the foundation for optimum wellbeing for thousands of children born and yet to be born.”
He added that: “With this intervention, pregnant women in Yobe and Borno States will be able to access primary healthcare facilities in their communities and receive essential drugs, tests and basic medical support in primary healthcare facilities close to their homes.”
Among the drugs being handed over are antimalarials, analgesics, antibiotics and other drugs and equipment. These medicines will help ensure that newborns and other children under the age of five receive protection from malaria, cholera, diarrhoea and other deadly childhood diseases.