By Justina Auta
Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, on Thursday urged Medical Women International Association (MWIA) and others to prioritise and intensify efforts towards addressing health challenges affecting women and girls.
Tallen, made the call at a two-day congress of the MWIA Near East and African Region (NEAR) held in Abuja with the theme “Accelerating Progress Towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Priorities, Opportunities, and Challenges.’’
She said improving the health status of women and girls, who were majorly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, would aide in achieving UHC.
According to her, the ministry was working with stakeholders towards addressing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF), reducing maternal and child mortality rate, as well as promoting the health status of women and girls.
The minister, therefore, called on all stakeholders to promote girl-child education by sponsoring less privileged persons acquire education, as well as providing sanitary and hygiene materials for girls particularly in rural communities.
Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said that efforts were in place to establish functional and responsive National Emergency Medical service and Ambulance System across the country to ensure that emergencies were properly taken care off.
According to him, the services will be at no cost to the people.
He added that efforts were also in place to revamp tertiary healthcare services across the country, as well as include active partnership with private sector for the attainment of quality health care.
President, MWIA, Dr Eleanor Nwadinobi, while discussing the congress theme, urged the government to prioritise and invest more in universal health coverage for improved access to quality and affordable health services in the country.
While commending efforts of women in medicine for their passion, resilience and response in bringing healing to the world, she urged them to continue to work towards improving the health status of the people.
The National President, Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Dr Mininim Oseji, stressed the need to accelerate efforts towards improving UHC in the country.
Oseji, also stressed the need to continue to carry out advocacies towards improving the health-care services and eliminating all forms of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG)
On his part, the President, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Prof. Innocent Ujah, commended women health workers for their role in national and regional response of COVID-19 pandemic.
Ujah said that the pandemic had also exposed women and girls to violence, adding that ineffective coordination by key stakeholders, poor implementation of legal frameworks, cultural and religious discriminatory norms affected efforts towards addressing gender-based violence.
He, therefore, stressed the need to involve men in maternal and child health for the support of the fight against GBV.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two-day MWIA Congress is hosted by the Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (MWAN).
Highlight of the congress was the donation of consumables, hand sanitisers, bed sheets and other items to Kuchigoro Primary Health Care Services in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Participants comprising female medical professionals, students and other professionals from countries across Africa, the Near East, Europe, Canada and the U.S. were in attendance.