Niger State Government has promised to put in place the necessary measures to remove the state among the worst states practicing open defecation in the country according to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2021.
The state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, gave the promise during the sensitization and dissemination of Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2021 reports organised by the Niger state Planning Commission in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday in Minna, the state capital.
MICS 2021 report revealed that more than 40 percent of residents of Niger state were practicing open defecation.
The MICS was carried out in the year 2021 by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) as part of the Global MICS Programme with support from UNICEF, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).
Bello, represented by the Secretary to the State Government ( SSG)Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, expressed concern that the state was not doing well in areas such as enrollment of out of girls in schools, nutrition, maternal and child mortality, and open defecation.
He said the state government had established Small Town Water Supply Agency to improve access to quality water supply in major urban areas to change the state’s position from the 2021 MICS report as the third worst state practicing open defecation.
“With improving treated water supply, especially in major towns and rural areas people will have access to hygienic water supply systems and maintain sanitation, there is a need to sensitize people that every government structure must have VIP toilets attached especially in schools.
He, however, urged Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to bring policies and programs options to improve the state’s position for better results based on the MICS report, pledging government full support.
In his welcome address, the Niger Commissioner and Deputy Chairman Ministry of Planning Commission, Malam Zakari Abubakar, said the event was to brief the state on data regarding women, children, and households in the state as data was key to planning and policy development.
In his remarks, Donald Burgess, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Kaduna, lauded the state government for making progress in some areas such as Penta 3 vaccination coverage, and maternal and child mortality.
“The Penta 3 vaccination coverage rose from 20 percent in 2016 to 39.4 percent, maternal and child mortality has reduced far below national average child mortality,” he said.
Burgess, represented by Mr. Idris Baba, Health Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, expressed concern over the decline in enrollment of girls in Niger state which was at 42 percent against 39 percent of boys.
He added that there was a literacy declined in children and low birth registration and called on the Niger state government to invest in critical areas such as education and health, adding that UNICEF would continue to support the state in girl education and health.
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Niger govt receives 2021 MICS report, promises to reduce open defecation