The AIDS Health Care Foundation(AHF), an organisation improving the wellbeing and healthcare of the girl-child is collaborating with the House of Representative Committee on AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Control (ATM) to improve the wellbeing of the girl-child in the country.
AHF-Nigeria Girls Act, on Friday at the National Assembly in Abuja met with the members of the House Committee on ATM, to strengthen areas of collaboration.
The meeting was part of the activities earmarked to celebrate the 2020 International day of the girl-child declared by the United Nations, established in 2012 and celebrated October 11 every year.
The Chairman, House Committee on ATM, Hon. Abubakar Dahiru during the meeting said the committee would partner with the foundation to ensure the rights of the girl-child were protected and provided for through bills and motions.
“We are going to put it together, if it is a bill we will present the bill, and if it is a motion we will present the motion. On the issue of AIDS, TB and malaria whose symptoms are similar to COVID-19, we are equally doing our best especially with the 2021 budget, to ensure an increment of almost 50 percent,’’ he said.
The lawmaker appreciated the foundation for their advocacy in ensuring that the girl-child is empowered, while encouraging other partners to collaborate more with the lawmakers.
On his part, Hon. Darlyton Nwokocha, member ATM committee also reiterated their commitment to partner with the foundation, saying such awareness campaign was important to members.
“It is true that the sanitary situation of some schools and public places is quite abysmal. It is important that the whole 360 members on the floor go back home and find out from our schools on the sanitary situation. We are ready to partner with you because you have a very meaningful objective that will strengthen the health infrastructure for a better Nigeria,’’ he said.
The Foundation’s Advocacy and Marketing Manager, Mr Steve Aborishade, said that the Girls Act, was a girl-led initiative that fosters leadership, builds confidence for girls and young women to support each other.
Aborishade said young girls face a lot of challenges such as difficulty in accessing sanitary pads for their menstrual cycle, stressing that free sanitary pads should be distributed in schools across the country.
“In Nigeria today the age of consent is 18, and if a girl is lower than 18, she cannot access reproductive health services on her own except with her parents or guardian.
“Most of them do not like discussing their issues with adults and a lot of them are having challenges of unwanted pregnancies and infection. Also the sanitary situation in schools is of concern, water do not run in most schools and the toilets are really bad,’’ he said.
Aborisade said the demands to the lawmakers as mouth piece of the nation were important, adding that the foundation would partner with them to ensure young girls were empowered.
A member of the AHF Girls ACT, Ruth Daniel said that the organization was working to ensure that the right of girls were been protected, where girls are bold to speak up adding that “I encourage young girls who were raped to be vocal and be heard.”