The AIDS Health Care Foundation (AHF), an NGO, has called on stakeholders to implement policies for young women and girls to ensure equal access to quality healthcare, education and economic opportunities.
This is contained in a statement issued by Mr Steve Aborisade, the Advocacy and Marketing Manager, AHF Nigeria, on Sunday in Abuja, ahead of the 2022 International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that IDGC is commemorated annually on Oct.11, to celebrate the importance, power and potentials of adolescent girls around the world, as set aside by the United Nations.
The event themed: “Our Rights, Our Future”, intends to educate and empower girls to succeed by taking control of their health, promoting girls’ rights and bringing awareness to the challenges they face.
Terri Ford, AHF Chief of Global Advocacy and Policy, said girls and young women are disproportionately affected by HIV and many other issues surrounding public health.
According to him, AHF is committed to working very hard to help ensure girls have every opportunity to thrive with the help of AHF Girls Act programme launched in 2016, in Africa.
“At least 129 million girls worldwide are not attending school, an issue exacerbated by inadequate access to menstrual hygiene products and facilities.
“COVID-19 lockdown also caused higher rates of gender-based violence, while teenage pregnancies skyrocketed during the pandemic.
“In sub-Saharan Africa, six in seven new HIV infections among adolescents aged 15 to 19 years are among girls.
“Also girls and young women aged 15 to 24 years are twice more likely to be living with HIV than young men,’’ Ford said.
The AHF Chief further urged government and stakeholders to implement policies and programmrs for young women and girls to ensure equal access to quality healthcare, education and economic opportunities.
Dr Echey Ijezie, the Country Programme Director, AHF Nigeria, emphasised the need for access to age-appropriate Comprehensive Sexual Education (CSE), that empowers youths with knowledge, tools and skills needed for informed and responsible healthy choices.
Ijezie however called on government and stakeholders to create opportunities that ensure young women and girls have access to age-appropriate CSE for their health, dignity and wellbeing.
“In commemoration of the 2022 IDGC, AHF country teams will hold ‘Our Rights, Our Future’ events around the world to bring girls together through fun, educational and empowering sessions.
“Advocates would address menstrual health management, age-appropriate comprehensive sexual education, staying in school, avoiding unplanned pregnancy, building self-confidence, among others.
“In Nigeria, AHF and partner, Strong Enough Girls Empowerment Initiative (SEGEI) will engage critical stakeholders such as Ministries of Education, Health and Women Affairs, FCT Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).
“Others include School Based Management Committees (SBMCs), Secondary Education Board (SEB) and female students, in an impactful conversation as it relates CSE also known as Family Life and HIV/AIDS Education (FLHE) in Nigeria.”
Ijezie further stated that girls deserve the chance to succeed, saying IDGC 2022 is the perfect commemoration to empower girls with tools to take charge of their health and fulfil their potentials.
NAN reports that AHF is a global non-profit organisation providing cutting-edge medicine and advocacy to over 1.6 million people in 45 countries, including Nigeria. (NAN)
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