LASG, USAID LAUNCH ARFH-ICHSSA II PROJECT

LASG, USAID LAUNCH ARFH-ICHSSA II PROJECT

… First Lady Awarded Grand Ambassador For OVC

Determined to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS on Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) and their Caregivers, the Lagos State Government and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have launched the Association for Reproductive and Family Health-Integrated Child Health and Social Services (ARFH-ICHSSA) II Project at Radisson Blu Hotel, Ikeja.

Lagos State First Lady, Dr. (Mrs.) Claudiana Ibojoke Sanwo-Olu, in her address at the event, commended the USAID for the resources channelled to the OVC project, which she described as an all-rounder for touching people in different ways, and the Ministry of Youth and Social Development (MYSD) for producing the OVC State Operational Plan.

Dr. Sanwo-Olu promised to continue support for the initiative both in her personal and official capacity, stressing that the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Project is very essential to ensure adequate care for those affected.

In his keynote address, the Commissioner for Youth and Social Development (MYSD), Mr. Segun Dawodu, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Olugbenga Ayoola Aina, stated that the five-year project has reached thousands of people across the breadth and length of the State with resources to give them economic support and tackle health challenges.

Dawodu averred that in order to make a success of the OVC Project and ensure best practices, the Ministry produced OVC State Operational Plan, set up the Technical Steering Committee with support from USAID and put in place capacity building programmes for Case Managers.

The Chairman of the occasion, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, represented by Head of Sustainability in the Bank, Mrs. Omobolanle Laniyan, lauded the launch of ARFH-ICHSSA II Project, which could lift thousands of children out of their deplorable condition.

Wigwe commended Lagos State Government’s commitment to the actualisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and urged other agencies to collaborate with Lagos State in this regard.

On her part, the Country Representative of USAID, Ms. Helena Merie said, “This is an exciting new partnership with Lagos State Government to reduce poverty and health challenges. We commend the dynamic leadership of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu that has provided a conducive environment for USAID projects”.

President/CEO, ARFH, Professor Oladapo Ladipo, also applauded the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration for the unique productiveness in handling issues affecting OVC as demonstrated by the First Lady and the Ministry for Youth and Social Development.

In the same vein, Chief of Party, ARFH-ICHSSA II Project, Dr. Felix Iwuala said, “The Association for Reproductive and Family Health is implementing the ICHSSA in Lagos State in partnership with Project HOPE and FH1360 with support from the USAID and the Ministry”.

The Project, according to him, seeks to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS on vulnerable children and their households in such areas as Agege, Ajeromi/Ifelodun, Apapa, Badagry, Kosofe, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, Ojo, Shomolu and Surulere among others.

“The scope of services to vulnerable children and their caregivers cover health, education, food/nutrition, psychosocial, legal protection, household economic strengthening and social protection”, he added.

The highpoint of the occasion was the presentation of the Grand Ambassador for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Award to the Lagos State First Lady, Dr. (Mrs.) Claudiana Ibojoke Sanwo-Olu, by ARFH in recognition of her enormous contributions that have ameliorated the condition of Orphans and Vulnerable Children in the State.

Other recipients of Awards by ARFH include Mr. Segun Dawodu, Commissioner for Youth and Social Development; Professor Akin Abayomi, Commissioner for Health and Professor Babatunde Salako, Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research.