Toyin Saraki, Wife of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki on Wednesday called on the Federal Government to invest in girl-child education and health to make them feel safe while learning.
Mrs Saraki, the Founder of Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), an NGO, made the call in Abuja on the sideline of the on-going 5th edition of `SHE Forum Africa’ Conference 2018, themed: “It is Possible.“
She said the girl-child education went beyond getting girls in schools to ensuring that they learn and feel safe with the right hygiene standard, water and sanitation to cater for their needs
She said girl-child could do remarkable things and enable girls reach their full potential, if they could have access to free education and quality health services.
“This is the moment to invest in girls, girls education must be a priority for all government, NGOs and private partners.
“Treatment of abuse among the girls could originate from the educational system in the country as over 60 per cent of children not in school in Nigeria are girls.
“According to UN International Children’s Emergency Fund, only 45 per cent of girls in the Northern Nigeria are enrolled in school.
“UNESCO estimates that 130 million girls between age six and seven are out of school and 15 million girls of primary school age, half of them in sub-Saharan Africa, will never enter a class room,’’ Mrs Saraki said.
She said that women were significant to achieving the demographic dividend in the country which could lead to expanded working age population, improved education, infrastructure, healthcare investments among others.
According to the founder of the foundation, success for women, both professionally and personally, is success for the whole society.
Mrs Saraki stressed the importance of Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria and Africa, adding that it did not only improve health, but also reduced poverty, created jobs and protected populations against epidemics.
“Africa faces the burden of weak health system with both communicable and non-communicable diseases in a population estimated to reach 2.5 million by 2050.
She called on the African governments to respond to healthcare deficits as aggressively as they respond to military threats.