The 2021 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey(MICS)/National Immunization Survey (NICS) launched by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in collaboration with the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) has revealed that there is a significant reduction in Child marriage.
The survey which was officially launched by Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, in Abuja on Tuesday indicated that marriage of women before age 18 which was 44 per cent in 2016 has now reduced to 30 per cent in 2021, bring it to a 14 per cent reduction.
The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey is a household survey developed by UNICEF to assist countries in filling data gaps for monitoring human development indicators in general and the situation of children and women, in particular. It has evolved over the years to respond to changing data needs, expanding from 28 indicators in the first round in 1999 to 200 in its current sixth.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) implemented MICS which provides data on child mortality, health, nutrition, education, child and social protection, women’s health care and empowerment, water, sanitation and hygiene, while NICS assesses vaccination coverage provided through the health systems.
Indicators produced for the first time include social transfer, household energy use, child functioning and foundational learning skills. The survey measures the government’s progress towards national commitments and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The MICS results reveal that Nigeria has made progress in some sectors. Child mortality decreased from 1 in 8 children dying before their fifth birthday (MICS 2016) to 1 in 10 children (MICS 2021). There has also been significant progress in exclusive breastfeeding and birth registration rates – the exclusive breastfeeding rate increased from 24 per cent to 34 per cent, while nearly 60 per cent of Nigerian children are now registered at birth with civil authorities, compared to 47 per cent in 2016.
Speaking at the launch, Statistician-General of the Federation/CEO National Bureau of Statistics Prince Adeyemi Adeniran, said the 2021 Nigeria MICS-NICS report provides evidence-based data for all key stakeholders to prioritise quality services for children and women with higher efficiency and effectiveness.
“The information collated will inform policies aimed at social inclusion of the most vulnerable population, help identify disparities, and allow for international comparability.”
“As we build back better from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MICS-NICS survey provides evidence to shape interventions and focus resources in a way that helps children and their families reach their full potential.
“Using the data to monitor progress towards our collective commitments to children and families, and inform future action is critical if we must leave no one behind.”
Similarly, Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria noted that data is critical for effective budgeting and decision making, adding that the data from these surveys together paint a picture of the situation for children and families in Nigeria.
Hawkins explained that the survey picture is a mixed one. This is as he emohasized that while there has been some good progress, that should be celebrated, there is still a long way to go to towards ensuring the well-being of children in Nigeria.
The findings of this survey will help guide the federal and state governments as they plan their budgets – providing evidence for where more support and funds need to be wisely allocated and utilized.”
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