The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has charged the media to force policy action from those in government and other relevant stakeholders in the health sector through consistent reportage on Early Childhood Development.
By so doing the multi-lateral agency believes right steps would be taken to bring succour to the growth circle of the Nigerian and African children in the for the good of the country and the continent at large.
This was the consensus of opinion canvassed at the opening of a media dialogue in Kano which commenced today, Wednesday November 7.
Speaking at the UNICEF facilitated Media Dialogue on Early Childhood Development (ECD), UNICEF Communication Officer, Mr Rabiu Musa urged journalists to focus on ECD issues.
According to Musa, “the media dialogue was designed to equip journalists with useful and relevant information that would help and enable media practitioners step up thorough factual reportage of ECD.
In his presentation at the session, the Assistant Director, Child Right Information Bureau in the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Abuja Mr Olumide Osanyinpeju said the need to propagate early childhood development in Nigeria has become very urgent so as to save the future of the children and urged key partners and stakeholders to focus on ECD.
He tasked the media on aggressive reportage on early childhood development so as to attract the attention of policy makers to ECD, even as he commended UNICEF for its crusading roles at ensuring ECD.
In his estimation, there was a need for all to rise up for the propagation of early childhood development through nurturing care that would ensure good health, nutrition, safety and security, responsive care giving, accessible and quality early learning such as pre-primary education.
“As you know, government alone cannot fight this cause, hence, the need to collaborate with agencies, NGOs and other line partners and organizations to advocate on how best addressing the issue.”
“ECD will improve the health of our children and greatly benefit the community. It has a strategic place in the SDGs. The SDGs call for universal access to quality childhood development, care and primary education and provides unprecedented opportunity to scale up early childhood development services and the achievement of other SDGs such as SDGs 1-5, 10, 16 and 17”, Osanyinpeju said.
Separate presentations on the ECD situation in Nigeria were also taken during the meeting by subject matter experts among whom were; UNICEF’s Nutrition Specialist, Dr Bamidele Omotola, the Deputy Director of Universal Basic Education Commission, Dr Omokere Oluseyi and UNICEF Education Specialist, Swadchet Sankwey.