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ICRC rehabilitates 275 displaced persons from Sambisa forest

By Collins Olayinka, Abuja
12 May 2015   |   2:57 am
THE International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Nigerian Red Cross have delivered aid to a group of 275 people, mainly women and children, who had been found in Sambisa forest.
Sambisa forest. Photo: africanhadithi

Sambisa forest. Photo: africanhadithi

…..ILO urges protection for women, children

THE International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Nigerian Red Cross have delivered aid to a group of 275 people, mainly women and children, who had been found in Sambisa forest.

A statement by the ICRC said the group taken to a camp in the town of Yola; Adamawa State last week received clothing, bed-sheets, kegs and hygiene articles.

The ICRC also provided medical supplies to the federal hospital in Yola to help treat the wounded and sick.

An ICRC official in Yola, Beat Armin Mosimann said: “The suffering endured during this conflict, especially by women and girls, is tragic. Communities have been torn apart. We hope this group of people can now return to their families and loved ones. They will need continued support into the future,”

The ICRC stated that it would further coordinate its efforts with other humanitarian actors to respond to the needs of this group.

The ICRC and the Nigerian Red Cross are engaged in large-scale activities to help the population affected by the conflict in North-east Nigeria. Since December 2014, food has been distributed to more than 200,000 people, clean water has been provided and medical assistance given to the local population and surgical cares in area.

Meanwhile, the International Labour Organization has urged nations to expand social security to women and children.

The ILO social protection for maternity: Key policy trends and statistics report shows that only 36 per cent of employed women are legally entitled to cash benefits during their maternity leave. In practice, however, maternity leave legislation is not implemented effectively, so only 28 per cent of working women are covered in case of maternity.

The study also paints a worrying picture. It shows that while there has been an explosion of small cash transfer schemes in recent years; there is also a considerable gap with regard to the availability of adequate child and family benefits. According to the study, 108 countries have specific child and family benefit programmes rooted in legislation, but they often cover small groups.

“Around 800 women die from childbirth every day. In addition, 18,000 children also pass away daily. The sad reality is that despite efforts carried out as part of the Millennium Development Goals process, maternal and child mortality rates in developing countries are still very high,” the Director of the ILO Social Protection Department, Isabel Ortiz said.

Ortiz, who lamented the death of about 800 women from childbirth annually, pointed out such deaths are preventable with adequate social protection.

“Most of these deaths are preventable with adequate social protection. Universal maternal and child health care is key to reducing high mortality rates, together with cash transfers to ensure adequate food, clothing, and access to social services,” she added.

A worrying trend is that in some countries the levels of maternity and child protection benefits have dropped as a result of fiscal consolidation policies.

For example, several European countries have reduced the level of maternity and child benefits or have limited the level of coverage.

Again, Ortiz said: “Fiscal consolidation and adjustment measures threaten progress on social protection for children and their families. Child poverty increased in 18 of the 28 countries of the European Union between 2008 and 2013.”

On the other hand, several low- and middle-income countries have either extended the duration of paid maternity leave or introduced cash benefits for mothers and children. However, large coverage gaps remain.

The reports look at a sample of 57 low- and lower middle-income countries and show that introducing a basic universal maternity cash benefit would require, on average, 0.41 per cent of national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Meanwhile, having universal child benefits would, on average, require 1.9 per cent of national GDP. The projected costs for a basic universal child benefit vary greatly between countries, ranging from 5.2 per cent of GDP for Niger to 0.2 per cent of GDP for Guyana, considering that children constitute a large proportion of the population in these countries.