In celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC), marked every October 11, an international organisation, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), has lamented the frequent abuse of young girls by adults, calling on stakeholders to intervene in protecting the girl child.
Addressing participants at a workshop in Abuja Monday, the Director of Advocacy, Policy and Marketing, AHF Africa, Kemi Gbadamosi, said the issue of menstrual hygiene is particularly a disturbing one as many young girls skip school whenever they are menstruating, adding that the Foundation has been doing its best to ensure HIV positive girls are adequately taken care of.
She said: “From our statistics, in Nigeria, more women get infected with HIV than men. This is as a result of rape, violence, molestation, unhygienic practices, among others. In 2016, we launched the Girls Act project as we considered that it is not just about medication, but for us to tackle the root causes of HIV infection. We ensure that lives of women are changed positively at AHF.
“Women lack opportunities more than men, so we do our best to intervene. Even in schools, girls are discriminated against as many of them are mandated to clean the black board or sweep the floor, while the boys watch, which is not supposed to be so. We are all equal as human beings. We may be saddled with different roles to play, based on our gender, but we are all important and deserve equal opportunities. So, all hands must be on deck to ensure that the girl child is protected.”
Speaking earlier, a representative of the Ministry of Women Affairs, from the Child Development department, Mr Adekunle Balogun-Ashry, said the ministry is formulating policies for the protection of the girl child..
“We have formulated a lot of policies for the education of the girl child and eradication of gender inequality. We are in the final stage of the gender policy review. The last time we had the review was in 2005. So, after the review, we will send to President Muhammadu Buhari for approval. Hopefully, things will change for the better as we are always interested in things that will better the girl child at the ministry of Women Affairs,” he said.