To ensure that orphans and vulnerable children especially those in Private homes are properly taken care of, the Ministry of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation has stressed the need to closely monitor the activities of private homes in the State.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Justina Jumbo disclosed this when the Association For Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Nigeria, Rivers State Chapter paid her a courtesy visit in her office.
The Public Health Physician who promised to visit most of the Private homes to ascertain their level of care for the orphans and vulnerable children expressed worry about the negative information emanating from social media with regards to private homes’ activities.
She noted that some of the children are being starved while others are being maltreated and promised to work with AONN in catering for orphans and vulnerable children.
Earlier in his speech, the state coordinator of AONN Dr. Bernard B. T. Moses informed that the visit was necessitated by the need to synergize with the ministry inorder to improve service delivery for orphan and vulnerable children (OVC) programming in the state especially as the association celebrates its 20th anniversary in Rivers State.
He hinted that AONN is an umbrella body that coordinates the activities of all registered Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) providing care and support services to orphans and vulnerable children in Nigeria.
He also said that the organisation which was inaugurated in 2008 in Rivers State has grown to over 50 member organisations giving care and support services to vulnerable children in the 23 Local Government Areas.
Dr Moses who gave the statistics of children being served by the association, disclosed that 67,997 children are enrolled in their OVC programme, 2 with disability, 436 under their shelter, 2,042 living with HIV, 5,885 given nutritional support while 17,178 number of children received protection services.
On his part, the desk officer of OVC in the department of Child Welfare of the Ministry, Mr Menee Bayo described the activities of OVC as a big one that requires stakeholders’ collaboration.
He said the greatest challenge in providing services to orphan and vulnerable children is lack of budgetary provisions on OVC by Local Governments.
According to him State Government’s budget on OVC is inadequate to cater for orphans and vulnerable children in the localities pointing out that OVC is a multi-sectoral issue.