August 16, 2022

Nigeria makes slow progress in child health indices, NBS, UNICEF


… AS FG launches 2021 MICS report

60% of Nigerian children now registered at birth

By Chioma Obinna

The Federal Government on Tuesday launched Nigeria’s 2021 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, MICS, and National Immunization Coverage Survey, NICS, report, with Nigeria making slow progress in child health indices.

The reports which provide reliable nationwide and internationally comparable data to monitor the situation of children and women in Nigeria revealed that the exclusive breastfeeding rate increased from 24 per cent to 34 per cent, while nearly 60 per cent of Nigerian children are now registered at birth with civil authorities”

The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey is a household survey developed by UNICEF to assist countries in filling data gaps for monitoring human development indicators in general and the situation of children and women, in particular. It has evolved over the years to respond to changing data needs, expanding from 28 indicators in the first round in 1999 to 200 in its current sixth.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) implemented MICS which provides data on child mortality, health, nutrition, education, child and social protection, women’s health care and empowerment, water, sanitation and hygiene. At the same time, NICS assesses vaccination coverage provided through the health systems.

Indicators produced for the first time include social transfer, household energy use, child functioning and foundational learning skills.

The survey also measures the government’s progress towards national commitments and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The MICS results launched by the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, revealed that child mortality decreased from 1 in 8 children dying before their fifth birthday (MICS 2016) to 1 in 10 children (MICS 2021).

According to the report, there has also been significant progress in exclusive breastfeeding and birth registration rates and child marriage (women married before age 18) which has reduced from 44 per cent to 30 per cent since 2016.

Speaking on the report, the Statistician-General of the Federation/CEO National Bureau of Statistics Prince Adeyemi Adeniran said: “The 2021 Nigeria MICS-NICS report provides evidence-based data for all key stakeholders to prioritise quality services for children and women with higher efficiency and effectiveness.

“The information collated will inform policies aimed at social inclusion of the most vulnerable population, help identify disparities, and allow for international comparability.”

Adeniran said as the country builds back better from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MICS-NICS survey provides evidence to shape interventions and focus resources in a way that helps children and their families reach their full potential.

“Using the data to monitor progress towards our collective commitments to children and families, and inform future action is critical if we must leave no one behind,” he stated.

Speaking, UNICEF Representative, Peter Hawkins noted that data was critical for effective budgeting, and decision-making; the data from these surveys together paint a picture of the situation for children and families in Nigeria.

Hawkins said: “The picture is a mixed one. While there has been some good progress, and we should celebrate that – we still have a long way to go towards ensuring the well-being of children in Nigeria.  The findings of this survey will help guide the federal and state governments as they plan their budgets – providing evidence for where more support and funds need to be   wisely allocated and utilized.”

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