U.S Consulate Assures Nigerians Of Continued Commitment To Reducing OVC Burden On Nigerian Government
By Iheme Kelechi 2 months ago
FILE PHOTO: (Orphans and Vulnerable Children)
Mrs Olivette Smith, of the United States Consulate on Political and Economic Analyst in Lagos, has disclosed the readiness of the United States to remain resolute towards reducing the burden of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) as well as victims of HIV/AIDS on Nigeria Government.
While speaking at an event recently, she noted the efforts put in place so far to take care of such children. She stated this during the National Dissemination Programme of Local Partners for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Nigeria (ARFH-LOPIN 1) held at Ostra Hall, Alausa, Ikeja. The Consulate affirmed that concerted efforts through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has seen significant improvement in the protection of OVC and their caregivers in Nigeria.
According to Mrs Smith, the United States as a long-term ally of Nigeria through its various agencies like USAID and others are working tirelessly to help reduce extreme poverty in the country. "We are also promoting a healthier, more prosperous, better educated and peaceful Nigeria", she said.
“For the first time in modern history, control of the HIV epidemic in Nigeria is a real possibility and the United States will continue to support the effort. Through LOPIN 1 and its sister activities, USAID has provided care and support for more than half a million children orphaned or otherwise affected by HIV”, she declared.
Mrs Olivette Smith reiterated that by helping the vulnerable, the country’s youth population get access to healthcare and education. According to her, the U.S Government through USAID is helping the Government of Nigeria in meeting its commitment to ensure the next generation is prepared and ready.
The consulate pointed out that the LOPIN 1 project is an impactful activity that has helped some of the most vulnerable Nigerians and the children affected by the presence of HIV/AIDS in their communities to have access to equitable services like; education, health care services, nutrition and food security, household economic strengthening and legal protectionRelated: Fulani Communities In Plateau Beg For Calm And Proper Due Dilligence By The NPF As Reprisal Attacks Spread
“Since 2014, the LOPIN 1 activity implemented by the Association of Reproductive and Family Health has provided to more than 260,000 vulnerable children and their households with protection, care and support services as well as 50,000 of their caregivers”, she revealed.
According to Mrs Olivette, the project which was being operated at the community level and managed by indigenous non-governmental organisations in Lagos, Akwa-Ibom and Rivers States is coming into a conclusion soon. The U.S Government hopes its practices and procedures is duplicated and scaled up by State Governments across the country.
While commending the Government of Lagos, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States for providing the enabling environment to execute the various activities that made up the project, she acknowledged the diligence and innovation of the Association of Reproductive and Family Health as well as network of community-based organisations towards its successful implementation.
In his remark, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat explained that the self-sustaining project align with the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda of the present administration which was developed to uplift the citizens’ wellbeing.
The Deputy Governor who was represented by the Director, Family Health and Nutrition, Dr.Folashade Oludara, described the intervention project as a potent initiative that has reduced the inadequacies of government to fully protect orphans and vulnerable children and their caregivers as well as victims of HIV/AIDS.
He revealed that the Village Saving and Loan Association (VSLA) which is one of the approaches in building financial sustainability among beneficiaries would be leveraged upon by Government.
Dr. Hamzat appreciated the United States Government for their resilient support in reducing the socio-economic and psychological effect associated with OVC and HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, submitting that the Lagos State Government is developing a State Action Plan which is on verge of implementation where OVC and their families will be well protected across the State.
The event witnessed the presence of the representative of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development; representatives of the Lagos State Ministry of Youths and Social Development, representative of Akwa Ibom State Government; USAID Mission Director, Stephen Haykin; President of ARFH, Prof. O.A Ladipo, Chief of Party LOPIN 1, Dr.Iyabode Olusanmi, among other distinguished personalities.