Health for All: The Urgent Need to Address the Health of Women and Girls in Nigeria.

Health is a fundamental human right, yet it remains elusive for millions of people around the world. The theme for this year’s World Health Day is “Health for All”, emphasizing the importance of universal access to quality healthcare. When it comes to women’s and girls’ health in Nigeria, there is still much work to be done to achieve this goal.

Nigeria has a population of over 200 million people, and women and girls make up more than half of this population. Despite the significant strides made in healthcare over the past few years, women and girls in Nigeria continue to face significant challenges in accessing quality healthcare services.

One of the major challenges is the lack of access to family planning services. Nigeria has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world, and this is partly due to the lack of access to family planning services. Maternal mortality remains a significant concern in Nigeria, with a maternal mortality rate of 512 per 100,000 live births. This means that every day, approximately 111 women die from complications related to childbirth, making Nigeria one of the most dangerous places in the world for women to give birth.

Women who are unable to access family planning services are at a higher risk of unintended pregnancies, which can lead to complications during childbirth and even death.

Another major challenge faced by women and girls in Nigeria is gender-based violence. Women and girls in Nigeria face significant levels of violence, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. This can have a significant impact on their physical and mental health, as well as their ability to access healthcare services. Violence against women, including rape, sexual harassment, and domestic violence, is prevalent in Nigeria and often goes unreported due to cultural norms that stigmatize victims of such violence.

In addition to these challenges, women and girls in Nigeria also face significant barriers to accessing healthcare services. These barriers include cultural and social norms, financial constraints, and a lack of education about healthcare.

Access to healthcare services is another significant challenge for women and girls in Nigeria. According to a 2019 report by the National Bureau of Statistics, only 42 percent of women in Nigeria have access to basic healthcare services, and only 37 percent have access to skilled birth attendants. This limited access to healthcare services is due to factors such as poverty, inadequate healthcare infrastructure, and cultural barriers.

Limited education on sexual and reproductive health is also a significant challenge for women and girls in Nigeria. Many young girls lack the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health, leading to unintended pregnancies and a high incidence of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS.

To address these challenges, there is a need for a multi-faceted approach that involves the government, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders. This includes increasing funding for healthcare services, improving access to family planning services, and addressing gender-based violence through education and awareness-raising campaigns.

In conclusion, achieving “Health for All” requires addressing the health challenges facing women and girls in Nigeria. The Nigerian government and its partners must work together to ensure that women and girls have access to quality healthcare services, education on sexual and reproductive health, and protection from gender-based violence. By doing so, we can ensure that women and girls in Nigeria can lead healthy and productive lives, contributing to the country’s overall development.