UNESCO Advocates Better Access to Healthcare for Girl-child

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The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has advocated for an improved and better access to education and healthcare services for the well-being of the girl-child and vulnerable groups.

READ ALSO: Foundation Pushes For Well-being Of Girl Child

Phillipe Delanghe, Officer in Charge in the Abuja Regional Head of Office, UNESCO, made the call in Abuja during the 2023 ‘‘International Day of the Girl-Child celebration’’. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Invest in girls’ rights: Our leadership, our well-being”.

Delanghe noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had reversed gains made in the education of girls, increased inequalities, deepened the national learning crisis, and exposed them to exploitation and abuse.

He explained that girls in Nigeria had fewer educational opportunities and faced health risks due to early and frequent childbearing, HIV, early and unintended pregnancies, Gender-Based Violence (GBV), and harmful traditional practices.

He said despite the policies to improve access to health and education, a high estimate of 6 to 11-year-old were out of school.

According to him, the estimate amounts to about 10.2 million children, with a larger proportion being girls.

“This situation does not just call for renewed commitment but a deepened level of engagement, with a critical mass of stakeholders, to the education, health, and well-being of school-aged children. This is particularly to girls and other vulnerable children, through effective reproductive health education.’’

He also emphasized the role of men in empowering girls and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“It continues to be evident that, in improving the education, health, and well-being of adolescent and young girls from the formative years to maturing into womanhood, strengthening the response to male involvement is key and imperative.

“Today, we are opening that conversation with role model men that continue to stand with and for girls while inspiring others to invest in girls’ agency, leadership, and potential.”

He explained that UNESCO’s “Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future (03 programme)”, provided support to ensure that policies developed and implemented had an impact on the well-being of children.

“It also deploys a user-centered approach, delivering cutting-edge, impactful information and education to students, teachers, school management, religious leaders, and other stakeholders with intent to ensure the agency of the adolescent and young person.

“The programmes also cater by ensuring safe spaces within and outside the schools, thereby reducing school-related GBV.”

Delanghe said that the 03 programme was currently in the second phase and covered potential 13 states in Nigeria, with a plan to scale it up to an additional seven states by the end of 2027.

The event featured panel discussions by students and other critical stakeholders on the need to improve access to education for the girl-child to enable her to explore her potentials.

 

NAN/Aluko jane

Source Guardian

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