UNICEF donates 6 water Ambulances for humanitarian, medical services in Bayelsa

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By Amgbare Ekaunkumo, Yenagoa

As part of efforts to boost immunization coverage and primary care delivery services in the riverine communities of Bayelsa State, the United is Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has donated six water ambulances to the Bayelsa State Government.

Ms. Christian Munduate, UNICEF country representative, applauded the Bayelsa State Government for prioritizing healthcare delivery services in the state, especially in the primary healthcare sector.

Receiving the keys of the water ambulances from Ms. Munduate, the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, expressed gratitude to the UNICEF, and the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization,GAVI, for their partnership with government to improve primary healthcare indices and indicators.

Governor Diri who called for greater collaboration to achieve more success, also appealed to UNICEF to establish a field office in the state to coordinate its programmes and strengthen partnership with government to better deliver on its mandate.

The Governor, who was represented at the ceremony by his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, said the creation of a UNICEF field office in the state would make for better coordination and implementation of the organization’s policies and programmes in Bayelsa.

The governor also decried the present arrangement whereby the UN agency’s programmes are being coordinated in the state through the Rivers State UNICEF field office.

He particularly thanked the UNICEF for donating the boat ambulances as well as renovating some primary healthcare centres across the state.

Governor Diri, who disclosed that government would soon unfold the state’s nutrition policy, promised the UNICEF Country Representative, Ms Cristian Munuate and her team that the state would make judicious use of the ambulances to realize the purpose for which they were donated.

He said “Bayelsa is 70 percent riverine. So for us to make effective supervision, for effective healthcare delivery to the people, boats were required, and today you have delivered six water ambulances.

Earlier in her remarks, the UNICEF Country Representative in Nigeria, Ms.Cristian Munduate,
Ms Munduate noted that the six water ambulances donated by UNICEF and her partners were meant to close up existing gaps in the health sector, as Bayelsa still had about 20 thousand children yet to be reached for immunization.

She, however, pointed out that, from the statistics available, Bayelsa achieved 20 percent increase in routine immunization in the last couple of years, stressing there was still room for improvement to achieve 100 percent coverage.

Also speaking, the Senior Country Representative of Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI), Jessica Crawford, described the ceremony as a dream come true for both GAVI and UNICEF.

She appreciated the dedication and commitment shown by the state government, and expressed the hope that with the provision of the ambulances, there would be improvement in immunization coverage and overall primary healthcare delivery in Bayelsa.

In his welcome address, the Executive Secretary of the Bayelsa Primary Healthcare Board, Dr. Williams Appah, said the formal handover of the ambulances marks a significant milestone in the primary healthcare delivery system and assured that the facilities would be put to best use.

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