2024 IWD: Investing in women's knowledge of community health systems leads to positive health outcomes, according to UNICEF Chief

Dr. Tushar Rane

By Williams Ago, Gombe

Dr. Tushar Rane, the Chief of Field Office at UNICEF Bauchi Field Office, recently made a statement during the commencement of a two-day media dialogue on investing in women. This event was part of the activities to commemorate the 2024 International Women's Day. 

According to Dr. Rane, evidence has shown that strengthening women's knowledge of community health systems has contributed to positive health outcomes. This investment in women has proven to be a valuable strategy for improving overall health and well-being in communities.

This year's theme is, 'Invest in women - Accelerate progress', and Dr. Tushar said, ensuring gender equality and promoting women’s well-being in all facets of life is paramount in building prosperous economies and fostering a healthy planet. 

According to him, "Women often act as health advocates and educators within their communities. They raise awareness about health issues and encourage community members to seek healthcare when needed," hence the need to invest in them.

He said, when women are endowed with the right knowledge, they can effectively lead or participate in community health initiatives, such as vaccination campaigns. "Their involvement fosters community cohesion and increases the effectiveness of health interventions," he stressed.

He also explained that the media dialogue is expected to afford the journalists the opportunity to know the remarkable achievements of community-based women in the health sector in its field office states of Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba through the mama2mama initiative.

He decried however that, "adolescent girls’ rights, worldwide, are under threat, with progress on key issues either stagnating or regressing on a global scale. 

"In the face of challenges such as the ongoing global economic crisis, political turmoil, and humanitarian emergencies, adolescent girls are often overlooked, exploited, or placed in precarious situations. 

"Shockingly, one in seven girls in developing countries is married before reaching the age of 15. Moreover, adolescent girls continue to face elevated risks of sexual violence.

"If present trajectories persist, the number of girls and women living in extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to increase by 2030. 

"Nearly half of adolescent girls in UNICEF programme countries suffer from anemia and lacking access to essential health and nutrition services in the event of pregnancy", he pointed out.

He however assured that investing in the health, rights, and wellbeing of adolescent girls generates a transformative ripple effect that uplifts entire nations. 

"By providing adolescent girls with the necessary support, access, and opportunities to realize their potentials, we enable them to become formidable agents of change. 

"Empowered girls can play a crucial role in tackling some of the most pressing global challenges, such as climate change, poverty, and conflict. Their contributions pave the way for inclusive and sustainable development, shaping a brighter future for generations to come," he stated.

He called for a collective effort in improving the lot of girls and boys, saying, "Let us together push for a world, characterized by equity and inclusivity, where girls and boys are empowered to access and benefit from the same rights, resources, opportunities, and protections, fostering a society where every person can thrive.”
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