Experts call for increased investment in women’s health

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Population experts have called for increased investment in women’s health, education and well-being as well as in critical population groups for global development. The Executive Chairman, National Population Commission, Alhaji Nasir Kwarra, made the call at the launch of the State of the World Population, themed, ‘8 Billion Lives, Infinite Possibilities: The Case for Rights and Choices’, in Abuja.

He stressed the importance of safeguarding individuals that make up the eight billion world population, as well as improving the communities where they reside.

“Given the current and anticipated population growth, Nigeria stands to gain if significant and targeted investments are made.

“In providing quality education that responds to the dynamics of the global labour market, which favour girls, we need to keep our girls in school and protect them from early marriage,” he said.

The NPC Chairman said the right investments would accelerate economic growth and create opportunities for harnessing the demographic dividend.

Country Representative of, UN Population Fund, Ms Ulla Mueller, reiterated the commitment of the agency to making the world a better place for all. She said that giving women and girls access to bodily autonomy would enhance progress and economic stability. She explained that women’s access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights would galvanise an end to maternal mortality.

“About 44 per cent of women and girls are unable to exercise their bodily autonomy. Every single woman has the right to decide when to have children, and how many,” she added.

On his part, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Heath, Mr. Adebiyi Olufunsho, called for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 5 on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. Represented by John Ovuoraye, Director Gender/Adolescent Division, he said that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals had the elimination of violence against women as a key target.

Olufunsho explained that the ultimate focus of every programme should be to empower women and girls to make informed choices regarding their sexual reproductive health. He said the case for ‘Rights and Choices’, was a reminder that complete health was not the absence of illness, but rather, the state of complete mental, physical, financial and psychological well-being of every man and woman of a nation.

Olufunsho reiterated the imperatives of gender equality, which he identified as key to achieving bodily autonomy and global development. He affirmed the determination of the ministry to work closely with the population commission and other stakeholders to implement the recommendations of the SWOP.

According to newsmen reports, the SWOP Report is an annual flagship achievement of the UNFPA. It usually comes with a theme that spotlights prevailing or emerging population and development concerns with a focus on unique population groups – women, young people, adolescents and girls.



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