With the high child mortality and low Immunization coverage of children under the age of 1 in Nigeria, the death rate from preventable causes such as pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, measles and malnutrition to a large proportion kills children under the age of 5 years.
UNICEF in collaboration with government at the Federal, State and Local Government aims at launching a campaign that would resonate locally with strategic community outreach and mobilization to change social norms as “2 Leaves 2 Years”. The programme is an approach towards improving delivery of a comprehensive health package for women and children, with impact and cost effectiveness.
To this end, a Pre-test to understand the key message and accept the tag line before the campaign proper was held at the Palace of Olu of Ikeja land, Lagos State on Wednesday 31st January, 2018 with 18 people in attendance.
Moderating the exercise in Yoruba language as a facilitator, the Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Lagos State, Mr. Waheed Ishola, noted that the exercise was been done across the six geo-political zones of the country simultaneously to show the importance of child’s health to the present government and UNICEF. He urged the participants to see themselves as a privileged few who should feel free to contribute generously in all the discussions, even as he outlined five variables: Attractiveness, Acceptance, Easiness, lnformative and Involvement, that would be used to measure the Pre-test programme.
On her part, Dr. Adebola Hassan, Health Specialist, UNICEF Akure office remarked that the first two years of life are very important for building the baby’s brain. A child’s brain develops rapidly during these years of life and if the right parental care is not given, the changes developed are irreversible for life. She adviced that understanding the need to invest in very young children is so important to maximize their future well-being.
At the end of a robust and participatory exercise, it was agreed by the participating audience that the programme is informative, easy to understand, acceptable and involving. Participants gave their support to a wide national campaign because it would reduce if not eradicate child mortality and morbidity.
The Regent of Ikeja Land, Barrister Isiaka Apena, in whose Palace the event was held, thanked NOA, UNICEF and Government for bringing such laudable programme to his palace. He promised to propagate and engage all visitors to his palace on the pre-test (2L2Y) programme.