Ebonyi NOA, UNICEF move to raise awareness on safe practices for healthy living

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Abakaliki – The National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Ebonyi, in conjunction with the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF), has embarked on programmes to raise people’s consciousness on essential safe practices for healthy living.

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The state Director of NOA, Dr Emma Abah, said this on Friday in Ezza-South Local Government Area (LGA) during a one-day Forum of Community Governance Structure for Ebonyi Central Senatorial District.

Abah said that the department of Communication for Development, a unit in UNICEF, identified the lack of knowledge and ignorance as two factors  responsible for health challenges in the state.

He said that the forum aimed at raising consciousness of safe practices among residents.

He further said that high rate of poor hygiene, handwashing, poor environmental sanitation, poor exclusive breast feeding, issue of open defecation, harmful practices done in the secret, among others, were discovered in the state.

He said that bad practices were increasing the health hazards in the state, adding that the department had resolved to enlighten families and communities in the state to be properly informed about good practices.

He said: “UNICEF supported NOA to carryout this programme and the discussions are centered on the health of women, children and most difficult health challenges in the communities.

“UNICEF had discovered that money and food were not the major problem of the people but ignorance and lack of knowledge was noticed.

“That is why they decided to go to grassroots to identify the health challenges people suffer.

“The programme is also centered on bringing essential family practices that are very necessary for the existence of any family or society.

“They observed that without communication and enlightement, development will not thrive.”

Abah encouraged communities to own the programme, saying that any community without human development had yet to attain and sustain growth.

“Only those in the community know the problems of their domain,” he said.

The NOA boss said that monitoring and evaluation units of the agency and the independent monitors of UNICEF would ensure the campaign was carried out at the grassroots effectively.

He also said that the governance structure, development unions and the traditional rulers council would be made to include the campaign in their monthly meetings.

Abah urged government to provide more conveniences in public places, including markets and schools, in order to bring the desired change for safe practices for good health and development.

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Meanwhile, the Town Union President of Ndiaguahara Community in Ikwo LGA, Mr Patrick Ugbuloke, blamed most things that posed health challenge in the area on ignorance.

“As a community leader, it our duty to ensure that essential family practices was driven to the grassroots level effectively,” Ugbuloke said.

Two traditional rulers at the forum, Eze Martin Nweke (Echara Autonomous Community) and Eze Joseph Igweonwe (Amuda Autonomous Community) thanked the organisers of the event and promised to take the message down to their communities.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the forum was “Working with Community Governance Forum to increase the number of mothers, caregivers and other community members with knowledge of at least five per cent of UNICEF Essential Family Practices to 85 per cent. (NAN)

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