As the 2022 International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC) held yesterday, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) charged government and stakeholders on implementation of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in schools for protection of rights and future of the gender.
Country Programme Director, AHF Nigeria, Dr. Echey Ijezie, made the call in Abuja.
The yearly event, which holds every October 11, celebrates importance, power and potential of adolescent girls around the world.
At the occasion, organised by AHF, with the theme, “Our Rights, Our Future,” to educate and empower girls to succeed by taking control of their health, rights and challenges, Ijezie observed that access to appropriate CSE would promote positive attitudes towards sexual and reproductive health among children.
He said: “The reality is that girls from the ages of eight, nine through 10, 14 to 15 may engage in risky behaviour.
“AHF and our strategic partners, agencies, ministries and schools must help educate everyone, including girls on the need for a safe space to understand CSE, their rights and future.
“The need to avoid risky behaviour, which can lead to unwanted pregnancies and HIV infection, is why access to appropriate CSE is very important
“This is because the information you give to an eight-year-old is important but different from the information given to 14 years to 18 years to make sure they protect their rights and future.”
The AHF official listed some of the topics of CSE, also known as Family Life and HIV/AIDS education in Nigeria, to include setting boundaries, self-esteem, decision-making and consequences, menstrual hygiene, as well sexual and reproductive health and puberty.
He tasked government and other relevant stakeholders on educating the public and ensuring the girl-child makes right choices, becomes assertive and able to report issues.
Deputy Director, Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB), Nsu Rabo, said IDGC was a significant day for every girl-child, stating that teachers play significant role in the wellbeing of a child.
On appropriate measures meted to teachers, who display unruly behaviour towards students, he re-echoed that the noble profession is guided by code of ethics.
Francisca Osibe of the Federal Ministry of Health, while lauding the partnership, stated: “The ministry hopes to sensitise the girls, provide free medical test and sanitary pads, as well as educate them on reproductive health.”
Also speaking, Counsellor, Abuja School for the Deaf, Mrs. Bose Enuiyin, appreciated the organisers for putting the programme together for all, including parents of children with hearing impairment.