The Nigerian Health Minister, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu says the battle against the deadly Ebola Virus may have been won but the war is not yet over.
- Health minister says the presence of Ebola in some West African countries is a threat
- He made the statement at a Women and Girl-child education summit held in Abuja
- Professor Chukwu stressed the need for preventive measures to be strictly adhered to
- Nigeria’s model in containing Ebola should be replicated in other countries, he said
- Jonathan reiterates his administration’s commitment to empowering women and children
- Girl-child asks parents to bring children up in the fear of God
Health Minister, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu has stressed that the presence of Ebola virus Disease (EVD) in some West African countries is a worrisome situation.
He said at the end of a two-day summit on Women and Girl-child Education in Abuja on Wednesday that “While the global accolade Nigeria had received for tackling the viral infection is well deserved, we cannot afford to let our guards down given the fact that the scourge is still ravaging some West African countries.
“I have confidence that the war against Ebola Virus Disease(EVD) has been won but must also warn that the preventive measures still in place should be taken seriously as long as the disease is still ravaging some African countries and spreading beyond”.
Model worthy of replication
Professor Chuwku said the Nigerian experience in containing the scourge had amazed many who wondered how the country rose to the challenge of Ebola and subdued it despite some lapses in the healthcare delivery system.
“It is model worthy of replication in any Ebola-infested country,” he said.
Earlier in his speech, President Goodluck Jonathan said that the government would continue to recognise the valuable contributions of Nigerian women and girls to the sustenance of the society.
“As part of efforts in ensuring that women and girls benefit maximally from the dividends of democracy, the Federal Government launched recently the Growing Girls and Women in Nigeria (GWIN).
“The Central Bank of Nigeria has been directed to ensure that 60 percent of the approved N20 billion SME fund be allocated to women,” he said.
Thinking outside the box
President Jonathan further requested that the outcome document of the summit be made available to his office, expressing optimism that it will steer his administration to think outside the box in planning for the girl-child in Nigeria.
The First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan, in her speech highlighted the many challenges confronting the girl-child and called on women and mothers to be more detailed in their attention to the up-bringing of their children.
Importance of the fear of God
Representing the children, 16-year old Chimdi Neliachukwu, who spoke the mind of the girl-children contained in their charter of demands they christened “Girlifesto”, stressed the importance of the fear of God in addressing the needs of the girl-child.
She believes that for the girl-child’s education to be balanced, it must be rooted in both moral and academic pursuit and called for worthy role models for the girl child.
According to the Director General of the National Centre for Women Development, (NCWD), Lady Onyeka Onwenu, the summit was convened to draw attention of policy makers to the challenges of the girl child.
“The summit will evolve strategies for economic empowerment for marginalised women and girls, focusing on education, health, violence and security,” she explained.
Lady Onwenu said that due to the disproportionate disadvantage of girls as well as the opportunities girl-child education can bring, there was the need to reduce the disparities through deliberate policies and interventions aimed at gender equality and empowerment.