Save the Children International (SCI), an NGO, has called on the Federal and State Governments to take necessary measures to halt community transmission of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Mr. Isah Ibrahim, its Nutrition Advocacy Advisor, Kaduna State Field Office, made the appeal in a statement on Thursday in Kaduna.
According to him, community transmission of COVID-19 can have an unimaginable impact on children.
”More preventive actions need to be taken to ensure the protection and well-being of children, whose life hangs in the balance due to the pandemic.
”Special attention needs to be paid to prevent and minimize negative consequences for children as much as possible.
“This is because, children, who constitute the most vulnerable section of the Nigerian population, will be worst affected if community transmission of the virus is not halted.
“As such, government at all levels must do everything possible to halt community transmission of the disease to prevent children from either dying from the virus or becoming orphans,” he said.
Ibrahim said that children had been already affected by measures taken to control the outbreak, such as stay-at-home, school closures, and social distancing measures.
He said that all the measures were already having their tolls on children’s access to nutritious food, particularly children under the age of five years, the critical stage of development.
Ibrahim said that the federal and state governments should equally take necessary steps to meet the nutritional needs of children throughout the lockdown period to prevent the outbreak of malnutrition.
He appealed to governments to facilitate the production and distribution of learning materials to parents and caregivers to support in educating their children at home.
“This is because, parents and caregivers, are now responsible for many aspects of children’s lives, including education, and need to be supported to provide some learning guide at home.
“This will significantly complement the current radio, television, and other electronics and online teaching programmes adopted by some States to keep up pupils and students learning while the lockdown lasts,” he said.
Ibrahim commended the Kaduna State Government and other states for ensuring that children’s education continued through radio and television teaching initiatives.
He advised the governments to upload the radio and television lesson materials on social media platforms and relevant websites for students and parents to access them.
‘We are appealing to governments to ensure that schools are not used as COVID-19 treatment centres, so as not to disrupt resumption of schools when the lockdown is over,” he said.