Anambra State Social Mobilization and Technical Committee (SOMTEC), a United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) assisted project, domiciled in the State Ministry of Information has supervised sensitization carried out by Household Interpersonal Communication Outreach teams (HIPC) on the need for disease prevention and to avoid violence against children living in Anambra communities affected by 2022 floods.
The SOMTEC Project Desk Officer, MOI, Mrs Grace Onwukwe said that the state team has been on ground supervising the sensitization carried out by the HIPC outreach team members in 16 communities of the flood affected LGAs in Anambra State.
“One of the adverse post flooding effects apart from disease outbreak include economic hardship. UNICEF is concerned with children’s protection.
“Whenever there is flooding people affected are usually quartered in government reserved Internally Displaced Persons(IDP) camps.
“There, you may see a lot of people from various families and different background, so parents need to be careful and watchful over their children”, she said.
UNICEF facilitator, Mrs Chineze George-Ileka, said post flooding hardship can push parents into dispatching their children to become housemaids while others turn their children into hawkers. They make money from them without caring about their future or what these children encounter in the hands of their masters or mistresses.
“Sometimes, these children are not sent to school but are subjected to child labour, child abuse, all forms of inhuman treatment in the name of punishment and molestation in the hands of paedophiles,” she said.
Mrs George-Ileka further encouraged flood victims to try and shoulder the responsibility of raising their children under watchful eyes despite the economic hardship to avoid regrettable consequences.
Also, George-Ileka discouraged parents from using foul and abusive language against their children saying that it affects them negatively.
She warned that indecent dressing is another cause of rape in the society urging them to teach children to speak up anytime any person whether from the opposite sex or same sex starts touching or caressing them privately.
Moreover, the HIPC Outreach teams have been educating flood affected families about healthy living/hygiene habits such as Effective hand washing (HW), Safe excreta disposal (SED), Environmental sanitation (ES), Water treatment (WT) and watchfulness to prevent Violence against children.
“It was expected that positive social behavioral change would be achieved and implemented by the community members”.
At Okoti, the HIPC team members, Chukwudi Obah and Anthonia Okechukwu spoke about washing the hands from the elbow regularly with soap or Ash under running water. “Critical times for hand washing include after visiting public places, before cooking, eating or breast feeding infants, after visiting the toilet or disposing children’s faeces”.
At Nza Ozubulu, HIPC members, Onyinye Ibe and Chinonyerem Obineli, advised families against Open defeacation because flies that perch on excreta find their way to people’s food. They encouraged every household to use a latrine, pour flush or Water Closet toilet which should be covered always and washed regularly”.
At Ugbenu, HIPC members Chinaecherem Nweke and Nebenanya Diana taught families to Keep the kitchen and surrounding clean. “Dispose empty cans and dustbins to avoid breeding mosquitoes and rats. Always boil, cool and filter water before drinking.