The governor of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, has reaffirmed that his administration would continue to execute programmes in line with its commitment to protecting the rights of the child.
The governor gave the assurance in Asaba when he received the Chief Field Officer of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Nigeria, Dr. Guy Yogo.
He commended UNICEF for challenging government at different levels to pay special attention to the welfare of the child, but stated that his administration had always engaged in programmes that protected child’s rights.
He disclosed that the state government believed that the child had rights and that the government would continue to defend the position.
The governor expressed gratitude to UNICEF for its sustained effort at ensuring that children were protected through programmes like immunization.
According to him, when you impact on the mother and the child, you actually impact on the future of the people as children represent the future and anything that happens to them tends to create a block in our progress.
Okowa said, “in our state, we are paying special attention to the rights of the child and we are bringing it to the fore as the child has a right to exist; that is the major drive that has brought us to the state health insurance programme.
“Since 2004 when the National Health Insurance Act was founded. There have been challenges which have prevented it from attaining the level it ought to be nationally.”
“There is no buy-in from state governments but in Delta State, we are trying to provide basic healthcare of which 50 per cent of the funding is covered by the government.
“We are taking the insurance scheme serious as we have ensured that children under the age of five and women are covered; we have taken a holistic approach to ensure the welfare of our women and children.
“We are also trying to engage everybody with the healthcare scheme which will ensure that both men and youths are also covered; families will be covered, so, we are doing a lot of advocacy to get Deltans interested in this scheme.
“To a large extent, the civil servants are already enrolled in the scheme; local government councils are already coming on board as we carry the advocacy to the grass roots.’’
He said that with sustained advocacy, Delta would set the standard for other states to emulate “because a success story here will definitely create an effect that I believe other states will see and be able to buy into the scheme.
“Whatever area UNICEF will offer technical assistance and other forms of assistance such as mobilization will be accepted by us because, in the last three years, a lot has been done and a lot more is yet to be done.
“We hope to keep up with the standard we have set because nationally we are still the leading state.