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Girl-child Education Instrumental to Reducing Gender-based Violence — Malala Fund

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The Malala Fund says educating the girl-child is instrumental in reducing Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria

Ms Pearl Uzokwe, U.S. Board Member, Malala Fund, stated this in an interview on Friday in Lagos.

Uzokwe spoke against the background of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, an annual international campaign that runs from Nov.

25 to Dec. 10, Human Rights Day.

The week focuses on “raising awareness to the devastating impact that gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) has on women and children, and the social fabric of our society”.

The theme of the week for 2023 is “Unite by 2030 to End Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG)”

Uzokwe said that the civil society remained power advocates and this is where the Malala Fund ‘where I sit on the board comes in.

“Our mission remains  `12 years of good quality education for the girl child’.

“We advocate for policy changes, invest in local education initiatives, and amplify the voices of girls around the world who are fighting for their right to education,” Uzokwe said.

She said that it was important to realise the intersectionality between gender -based violence against the girl-child and girl-child education.

According to her, it is a complex and critical one that involves the overlapping impact of various forms of discrimination and oppression.

“Gender-based violence without a doubt is a barrier to education. Coupled with that is the often cyclical relationship between GBV and lack of education.

“Girls who are denied education may face increased vulnerability to sexual violence due to limited opportunities, economic dependence etc.

“It is for reasons such as this, that Malala Fund which began its work in Nigeria in 2014, is committed to playing its part in reducing the seven million out-of-school girls in the country.

“To do that, hurdles including sexual violence, are part of the consideration,” Uzokwe said.

She noted that Malala Fund had invested more than $6.1 million in education work in Nigeria and in total awarded 52 grants.

She explained that the investment of the fund in Nigeria has impacted 14,000 children with direct services (such as school enrollment initiatives, advocacy trainings, and life skills trainings) and nearly six million children indirectly (through teacher trainings, policy change, and digital technology access).

“In Nigeria we currently fund 15 Education Champion organisations working directly at the grassroots.

“Helping to break barriers to education, including gender-based violence and two Girl Fellows, with a further three Fellows being brought on shortly,” Uzokwe said.

According to her, she is strong advocate for justice and the need for punitive measures in tackling the issues of GBV.

She said that legislations against GBV should be backed with enforcement to serve as a major deterrent.

“Our legal systems must become beacons of hope, not sources of further distress,” Uzokwe said.

She appealed to the private sector and corporate organisations to put in measures that would forestall the incidences of GBV whether at home or in public offices and spaces.

“The beauty of the work in this area is that each and everyone one of us can contribute to eliminating this. Our homes lay the foundation and the tone for what is acceptable in larger society.

“Let us train both boys and girls to truly respect and uphold the girl child and women.

“Fathers, I am specifically pleading and calling on you today as your urgent voices matter more than ever.

“A girl’s self-esteem is often times made or marred in equal proportion to the validation they get from their fathers.

“Don’t just think it, or spend your way to it…, actively speak it over those girl-children and build them up.

“For your sons, don’t just tell them how to treat women, but actively model it. Your example will outlive any words you use,” Uzokwe said.(NAN)

Health

400 Benefit from Free TB Screening in Bauchi

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No fewer than 400 residents of Bauchi have benefitted from free Tuberclosis screening exercise initiated by a group, Langa Women Development Association.

The Programme Manager of the group, Mr Ogala Ogala, said this at the inauguration of the two-day exercise on Saturday in Bauchi.

He said the exercise was designed to promote public health and curb spread of Tuberculosis.

He said exercise was being implemented in collaboration between the organisation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Bauchi State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Malaria ( BACATMA).

“We targeted the ECWA Women Conference for the Bauchi South, to conduct free screening exercise.

“The aim is to promote public health and awareness creation among the people to encourage healthy living.

“This is not just for women alone but whoever is at the designated venue can also access the free screening,” he said.

Also, Dr Simon Mafwalal, its Senior Project Manager, said the group with the support of the U.S. agency was providing TB screening services in the state.

“We can have all the equipment used for screening TB, whoever is diagnosed with the disease or has symptoms will be given the required treatment and counseling.” he said.

Mafwalal said that the medical van has the capacity to screen 250 clients daily, adding that a reasonable number of people would be screened before the end of the exercise. (NAN)

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Meningitis Outbreak Kills 20 Students Of FGGC Potiskum, Other Schools In Yobe

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Twenty students have died in three boarding girls’ secondary schools and the Federal Government Girls’ College in Potiskum and Fika local government areas of Yobe State from a suspected outbreak of meningitis. 

The Yobe State Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education Mohammed Sani-Idris told journalists that “20 students have been confirmed dead in the last few weeks from the suspected meningitis outbreak across some boarding secondary schools in Potiskum and Fika local government areas.

Many have been hospitalized but now discharged”.

He explained that after the outbreak at the secondary schools, “I as Commissioner, my Permanent secretary and the Executive Secretary of the State’s Science Technical Board as well as the Chairman of the Teaching Service Board have relocated to Potiskum temporarily to ensure the disease does not escalate”.

Meanwhile, Governor Mai Mala Buni represented by his Deputy Idi Barde-Gubana visited the affected schools of Fika Government Secondary School, Government Science Technical College, and Federal Government Girls’ Technical College all in Potiskum and well as Government Girls’ Science Technical College Gadaka in Fika Local Government Area of the state.

Governor Buni said: “As part of the effort geared towards containing and effectively tackling the outbreak, the government has already provided the emergency treatment drugs as well as deployment of a rapid response team to all the affected areas”.

While briefing the representative of the Governor at Specialist Hospital Potiskum, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health Isa Bukar said a total number of 214 cases were recorded and three are still in the intensive care unit of the hospital responding to treatment.

A similar outbreak had killed many residents of Degubi community in Fika Local Government Area of the state in April 2023.

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Cross River Warns Residents about Suspected Outbreak of Haemorrhagic Fever

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Cross River warned about a possible outbreak of viral haemorrhagic fever in old Ndebeji, in Akamkpa Local Government Area of the state on Saturday.

Viral haemorrhagic fever is any group of infectious diseases that interfere with the blood’s ability to clot.

They are spread by contact with infected animals, people or insects.

Examples include Ebola and yellow fever.

Commissioner for Health, Dr Henry Ayuk, said in Calabar that a suspected index case was currently being investigated in complete isolation at the Ndebeji healthcare centre.

He said he had directed the state’s epidemiologist and her team to work with the local government team to collect samples from suspected cases for diagnosis

“They will provide palliative case management and institutionalise adequate infection prevention and control in the facility.

“They will also work with community leaders to identify and restrict movements of known contacts till the sample results of the suspected index client are out and entrench risk communication in the community.

“I must note that cases are most likely to present early with fever, rash, body weakness, bleeding from body openings or may even be asymptomatic,’’ he said.

Dr Ayuk appealed to residents to avoid rodents and insect bites, adding that they should put on personal protective wears if they must come close to livestock, other animals and zoos. (NAN)

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