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Immunization: Take Ownership, VDNC Urges Gombe Govt

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…As State Appreciates Domestic Resource Mobilization Strategies

The Vaccine Network for Disease Control (VNDC) has urged Gombe State Government to take ownership in child immunizations to reduce number of zero-dose children in the state.

VNDC’s Head of Programs Mrs Chika Nwankwo made the appeal on Wednesday, when her team met with the Permanent Secretary, Gombe State Ministry of Health Pharmacist Mohammed Jalo.

A press statement signed and made available to Jewel Times by the Information Officer State’s Ministry of Health Hauwa Salami, said Mrs. Nwankwo elaborated on the critical funding challenges faced by the country which is evident in her inability to properly release the earmarked immunization funds, and the increase of zero-dose children in the country.

She said “Since Gombe is one of the 18 zero-dose states, it is important for the state government to take ownership in preparation for the inevitable exit of international donors”.

While highlighting VNDC’s previous engagements, to include meetings with national-level agencies like the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and ministries of health, finance and the ministry of budget and planning, she suggested some domestic resource mobilization strategies that had worked in other states like Lagos, Ogun and Delta.

In his response, the Permanent Secretary Pharmacist Mohammed Jalo appreciated the team, while expressing delight in the domestic resource mobilization strategies.

He said Gombe is doing a lot in the health sector including the revitalization of 114 Primary Health Centres (one in each ward of the state).

“This administration had also renovated the state specialist hospital, and is currently working on three general hospitals, each in one senatorial zone”, he added.

The permanent secretary assured of his commitment to work with the team to achieve set targets in reducing the number of zero-dose children in the state.

The meeting which took place at the ministry was part of the VNDC’s planned advocacy activities for Partnership To Reach Zero-Dose Children (PREACH Project).

PREACH Project; a GAVI-funded initiative through Global Health Advocacy Initiative (GHAI), aims to expand and solidify multi-stakeholder commitments to investing in immunization and primary healthcare strengthening through innovative domestic resource mobilization.

It also aimed to increase domestic resource mobilization for Immunization, efficient allocation, use and accountability of domestic resources, timely release of vaccine financing, including Gavi co-financing obligations.

In attendance at the meeting were some key officers of the ministry of health.

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Tekan Peace Desk Encourages Gombe Citizens On Religious Tolerance, Human Rights Protection

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By Yunusa Isa, Gombe

The need for Gombe People to respect one another’s belief, strengthen human rights and remain brothers keepers has been stressed.

The encouragement was given by the lead resource person Dr Obadiah Samuel from University of Jos, during a stakeholder consultative meeting on human rights and religious tolerance, organized by Tekan Peace Desk in Gombe.

Presenting a paper titled “Understanding Religious Intolerance and Its Effects on Human Rights Protection” and another on “Strategies for Creating Safe Space for Human Rights Protection”, Obadiah said religious tolerance has to do with respecting other people’s beliefs and avoiding anything that could make them intimidated.

While encouraging people of the state to remain brothers keepers, the resource person maintained that religious tolerance bring about peace, social cohesion and national development.

On human rights, Dr Obadiah said national, regional and international treaties recognized right to life and right to religious belief amongst others for every human being, maintaining that it is a duty on individuals and states to recognize and safeguard same.

He urged participants to become advocates of peace by reaching the unreached, to step down the knowledge acquired during the meeting.

Some participants at the meeting Lami Andrew and Ali Alola Alfinti, identified ignorance, poverty, political sentiments and extremism as major factors responsible for religious intolerance in the state.

They however highlighted love, education, awareness creation, understanding for one another and fight against poverty as panacea to religious intolerance and human rights violations.

They assured to step down the knowledge to grassroots.

Tekan Peace Desk with support from Brot and European Union is implementing a project ‘Faith for Peace’ in six communities; two each in Kwami, Yamaltu Deba and Ɓillliri local government areas of Gombe State.

The project focuses on empowering local actors to promote peace building, human rights, democracy and religious tolerance in Nigeria.

Participants at the meeting cut across community, religious and civil society organizations, media outfits, government & security agencies as well as human rights activists.

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DZ Rice Rekindles Hope Amidst Economic Challenges

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By Auwal Muhammad Adamu, Gombe

In a beacon of hope amidst soaring food prices and unemployment, the newly established rice mill industry ‘DZ Ventures’ has pledged to alleviate some burden by subsidizing the cost of processed rice and fostering employment opportunities in Gombe.

During the grand opening ceremony at Ajiya Nasarawo in Gombe metropolis, Alhaji Salisu DZ, the Managing Director of DZ Ventures, revealed the company’s commitment to gender and age-inclusive job creation, aiming to complement Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya’s efforts in tackling economic hardships.

In his remark, the Chairman Northeast Cooperative Stakeholders Forum, Barrister Abdullahi Jalo, commended the inclusivity efforts of the Gombe State Rice Processors Association, urging them to support DZ Ventures to excel.

Also the chairman Gombe State Rice Processors Association, Alhaji Lawan Yusuf, praised Alhaji Muhammadu Dan Zaria DZ for his dedication in turning the rice mill vision into reality. He emphasized the commitment to producing high-quality and affordable rice for the people of Gombe State and the nation at large.

The event, attended by top government officials, industry stakeholders, cooperative society representatives, and community members, marks a significant step towards economic resilience and prosperity in the state.

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UNICEF Engages Journalists On Ending Child Poverty In Three North Eastern States

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By Vasty Bala Jonah, Gombe

The need for government at all level to improve access to quality education, healthcare services and strengthen social safety policies as well as empower marginalized households has been stressed so as to tackle child poverty.

This was stressed at a two day media dialogue on Child Poverty for journalists drawn from Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe at Evolution Hotel Tumfure which was put together by UNICEF Bauchi Field Office.

Presenting their papers, a lecturer from Federal University Kashere Ali Madina Dankumo and Dr. Yusuf Auta a social policy specialist UNICEF Bauchi Field Office described child poverty as the inability of a child to have the basic necessities of life.

While enumerating the drivers of child poverty which includes corruption, unemployment, violence and insurgency, inadequate investment in social sectors, bad governance among others, Dankumo called on governments at all level to emulate the steps and measures taken to address child poverty by countries of the world so as give the large number of Nigerian children the opportunity to have a better life.

At the end of the two day engagement, UNICEF called for more attention to social safety policies, employment opportunities for the poor, economic and institutional reforms, provision of farming inputs for rural settlements among others, while urging the media to advocate for child friendly policies in order to tackle the menace.

In an interview, a participant from Adamawa Dr. Solomon Z. Kyagya; the director planning and Research Adamawa State Planning Commission described the engagement as timely and hoped that child poverty can be tackled within the shortage period of time while calling on journalists to be proactive in following through government budget, policies and programmes towards addressing the issue.

Another journalist from Voice of Nigeria Rebecca Muazu said the media dialogue was impactful, stressing the need for government to put things in place to increase consumption levels of families, so it can translate to having enough for children’s developmental growth, while pledging to educate the public on child poverty and also hammer on agriculture for more food production and security.

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