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Population experts are seeking an increase in health and education investments.

Population Experts Seek Increase In Health And Education Investments

According to some population experts, there is a need for an increase in investments in health, education, and the well-being of women and girls as well as for critical population groups so as to improve global development.

They made the call at the launch of the State of the World Population (SWOP) in Abuja on Thursday.

The theme of the 2023 SWOP was: “8 Billion Lives, Infinite Possibilities: The Case for Rights and Choices”.

The Executive Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Alhaji Nasir Kwarra, stressed the imperatives of safeguarding these individuals that make up the eight billion world population as well as improving the communities where they reside.

“Given the current and anticipated population growth, Nigeria stands to gain if significant and targeted investments are made. In providing quality education that responds to the dynamics of the global labour market which favours girls, we need to keep our girls in school and protect them from early marriage,” he said.

The NPC Chairman said the right investments would accelerate economic growth and create opportunities for harnessing the demographic dividend.

Ms. Ulla Mueller, Country Representative of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), reiterated the commitment of the agency to making the world a better place for all.

Mueller said that giving women and girls access to bodily autonomy would enhance progress and economic stability.

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She explained that women’s access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) would galvanise an end to maternal mortality, “About 44 percent of women and girls are unable to exercise their bodily autonomy. Every single woman has the right to decide when to have children, and how many.”

Mr. Adebiyi Olufunsho, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Heath, called for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5) on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

Olufunsho, represented by John Ovuoraye, Director Gender/Adolescent Division, said that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goal had the elimination of violence against women as a key target.

The permanent secretary explained that the ultimate focus of every programme should be on empowering women and girls to make informed choices regarding their sexual reproductive health.

He said the case for ‘Rights and Choices’ was a reminder that complete health was not the absence of illness, but rather, the state of complete mental, physical, financial, and psychological well-being of every man and woman of a nation.

Olufunsho reiterated the imperatives of gender equality which he identified as key to achieving bodily autonomy and global development.

He affirmed the determination of the ministry to work closely with the population commission and other stakeholders to implement the recommendations of the SWOP.

The SWOP Report is an annual flagship achievement of the UNFPA and its theme usually highlights prevailing or emerging population and development concerns with a focus on unique population groups – women, young people, adolescents, and girls.