AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), an NGO has called on government and stakeholders to implement policies that promote equal access to healthcare, education and economic opportunities for young women and girls.
This was contained in a statement issued by Mr Steve Aborisade, Advocacy and Marketing Manager AHF, on Monday in Abuja, ahead of 2023 International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC).
IDGC commemorated annually on Oct. 11, focuses on addressing challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and fulfilment of their human rights.
The 2023 IDGC AHF theme: “Amplify Her Voice” is aimed at empowering girls to take control of their lives and health, while urging government to implement policies that create equal opportunities for girls.
Dr Echey Ijezie, Country Program Director AHF Nigeria, said the foundation’s consistency in commemorating IDGC, was predicated on the need to create awareness on several challenges young woman and girls encounter.
Ijezie mentioned the challenges as unequal access to employment, education opportunities as well as increase barriers to healthcare compared to their counterparts.
According to him, advocates have drawn attention to many challenges the girl child must overcome as they account for 50 per cent of people living with HIV and AIDS worldwide.
“Young woman and girls are also among more than 500 million people enduring period poverty, including harmful stigma and inadequate access to hygiene products and proper facilities that hinder their success,” Ijezie said.
The Country Programme Director, however said, in promoting girls health and wellbeing, the foundation launched the successful ‘Girls Act’ program in 2016 in Africa, which has expanded to about 40 countries.
In commemoration of 2023 IDGC, AHF Nigeria would hold “Amplify Her Voice” event in Waru community FCT, Abuja and Uyo, Akwa Ibom state.
“The event would engage critical stakeholders, such as; advocates, government officials, head of agencies, schools, pupils, AHF girls act as well as young woman and girls.
“Topics on menstrual health management, age-appropriate comprehensive sexual education, unplanned pregnancy, staying in school, leadership and life skills, confidence building among others would be taught through fun, educated and empowering sessions.
“There would be distribution of sanitary pads at both events to promote safer menstrual health and advocacy on access to sanitary pads especially for indigent girls,” it stated.
AHF is the largest global non-profit organisation currently providing care and advocacy to over 1.8 million clients in 45 countries including Nigeria.