By NBF News

By Anayo Okoli
Umuahia - UNICEF plans to support Abia State government's efforts at reducing child mortality rate in 2011 with N61.7 million.

UNICEF Chief Field Officer, Mr. Charles Nzuki, disclosed this during the Programme Implementation Agreement, PIA, agreement signing between the government and the organisation at Government House, Umuahia.

According to Nzuki, UNICEF will focus on increasing the cooperation to empower and improve capacities in all intervention areas in the state.

He said his office would fund this year's PIA to the tune of N61.7 million as UNICEF's commitment to the implementation of the 2011

programme in the state, believing that the state government would make its contributions through counterpart funding.

Nzuki announced that indices available to his office indicated that routine immunization coverage had improved in the state to 64 per cent but noted that more effort was required.

He also disclosed that a recent survey in the state revealed that HIV infection rate was on the increase, hitting 7.3 per cent, higher than the national average rate.