The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has reiterated the importance of interpreting all its interventions in local languages so as to improve the healthcare of Nigerians, especially mothers and children.

The Chief of UNICEF Akure Field Office, Mr. Tejinder Sandhu, said this today during a “Fact For Life” (FFL) meeting with commissioners of Information from state under Akure UNICEF field office, which held in Akure, the Ondo State capital.

Sandhu noted that the stakeholders meeting was aimed at reviewing the progress made on the resolutions to improve healthcare of the people at the last meeting held in Akure on August 14, 2018.

According to him, the translation of the intervention programmes in the local dialect of the people would enhance larger coverage and change the health-seeking behaviour of the people.

The meeting was organised by Ondo State Ministry of Information and Orientation in conjunction with UNICEF having commissioners and representatives from Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo, Ogun, Osun and Edo states.

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At the last meeting, it was resolved that “English version of FFL radio programmes should be reproduced in Yoruba Language in order to reach and empower segments of the publication.

“Good voices on radio from the concerned states should be used in the production for self-belonging.”

There were presentations from participants, who expressed their commitment to the programme in their various states, while the academia, parents and caregivers shared their experiences.

UNICEF Communication for Development Specialist, Mrs Caroline Akosile, mentioned that the meeting would also discuss launch of Yoruba FFL as agreed by consensus to break communication barrier among the states.

Akosile added that it was a deliberate effort to “expand FFL partnership, explore sustainability and ownership; and to agree on next step for the promotion of FFL.”

She disclosed that FFL had been translated in 215 languages and 200 countries have adopted it, revealing that Akure has 14 chapters on child protection with four themes on immunization, safe motherhood, sanitation and Exclusive Breastfeeding (EBF).

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Earlier in his welcome address, Ondo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Yemi Olowolabi, stressed that the partnership with UNICEF’s Communication for Development (C4D) unit has impacted positively on quality health delivery in the state.

Owolabi said the collaboration had also improved on the standard of living of mother and children, leading to remarkable improvement on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) campaigns.

“Altogether, 120 wall paintings on hygiene and sanitation and another four paintings on exclusive breastfeeding have been completed across the three senatorial districts of the state.

“This is in addition to numerous Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials that we have produced to further educate our people on handwashing with soap and water.

“We are on the last lap of airing of FFL programme on our radio station, Orange 94.5 FM Akure. We have completed airing of 49 episodes on hygiene and sanitation, EBF and immunization.

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“The last 13 episodes on care of newborn are currently running on the station every Wednesday from 9:45 am to 10:00 am,” he says.

Speaking on the translation of FFL to Yoruba Language, the Commissioner said “it will reach and empower segments of the population in need of these messages since majority of our people will ‘grab’ the messages better in their mother tongue.

“We also promised to make our state-owned radio stations available for the programme free of charge.”

Without mincing words, he expressed optimism that the various interventions across the country would enable Nigeria to meet up with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals on newborn care.

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