Ebola: It 's Not Yet Uhuru, Health Minister Warns
SAN FRANCISCO, October 17, (THEWILL) - Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, has warned that though the battle against the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) may have been won in the country, the war is not yet over.
The Minister gave the warning while speaking at the plenary of the just concluded 2014 summit on women and girl-child education held at the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD) in Abuja.
According to the Minister, while the global accolade Nigeria has garnered for tackling the viral infection is well deserved, the country cannot afford to let its guard down given the fact that the scourge is still ravaging some West African countries.
'I have confidence that the war against Ebola Virus Disease(EVD) has been won but must also warn that the preventive measures still in place should be taken seriously as long as the disease is still ravaging some African countries and spreading beyond', the minister said.
He noted that the Nigerian experience in containing the scourge has amazed many who wonder how the country rose to the challenge of Ebola and subdued it despite some lapses in the nation's health care delivery system, saying it is model worthy of replication in any Ebola-infested country.
Speaking at the occasion, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who was represented by the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina, assured that the Federal Government will continue to recognise the valuable contributions of Nigerian women and the girls to the sustenance of the society.
The president said as part of efforts in ensuring that women and girls benefit maximally from the dividends of democracy, the Federal Government launched recently the Growing Girls and Women in Nigeria (GWIN).
He added that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been directed to ensure that 60 percent of the approved N20 billion SME fund be allocated to women.
President Jonathan further said that the outcome document of the summit be made available to his office which will steer the administration to think outside the box in planning for the girl-child in Nigeria.
The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, in her remarks also highlighted the many challenges confronting the girl-child and called on women and mothers to be more detailed in their attention to the up-bringing of their children.
In a keynote address, a 16-year-old Chimdi Neliachukwu, who spoke the mind of the girl-children contained in their charter of demands they christened 'Girlifesto ' stressed the importance of the fear of God in addressing the needs of the girl-child.
She added that for the Girl-child's education to be balanced, it must rooted in both moral and academic pursuit and called for worthy role models for the girl child.
Welcoming guests to the event earlier, the Director General of the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD), Lady Onyeka Onwenu, said the summit was convened to draw the attention of policy makers to the challenges of the girl child, and would evolve strategies for economic empowerment for marginalised women and girls, focusing on education, health, violence and security.
Onwenu maintained that due to the disproportionate disadvantage of girls as well as the opportunities girl-child education can bring, there was need to reduce the disparities through deliberate policies and interventions aimed at gender equality and empowerment.