The federal government recently launched a large-scale vaccination campaign against the human papillomavirus (HPV) and to vaccinate 7.7 million girls aged nine to 14.
While this move aims to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer, a leading cause of cancer deaths among women in Nigeria, a non-governmental organisation, Yeye Modupe Alakija Foundation (YMAF) has launched an awareness campaign in Lagos.
The campaign, Preserving and Activating Destinies Initiative (PADI), will create awareness of the need for Nigerians to embrace the HPV vaccination and also enlighten older women on how cervical cancer is preventable.
According to the Executive Director of YMAF Omobola Olaribigbe, the launch is to mark the International Day of the Girl Child 2023 Annual Conference themed: “EquipHer: Navigating Today with Value, Values and Visibility”.
While the foundation partnered with Lagos state for better awareness, Olaribigbe emphasised the need to give women and girls a chance in policy making. “The girl child naturally has the skill to multitask.
“Because they are being pushed outside or suppressed, you know, a lot of girl-children begin to question themselves but because of what the United Nation has done in celebration of the girls.”
She, therefore, sees the need for every girl child to be celebrated. “For her to be celebrated, she needs to know who she is and become who she is meant to be.”
The ED said the foundation’s effort is to augment what the government and others are doing. “By the time we begin to do our own and everybody begins to do theirs, schools, churches, and mosques begin to let the girl-child know who she is and place her where she is supposed to be in society, there will be a change.”
For Olaribigbe, the girl-child is meant to be in policymaking. “The girl child is meant to be in the education, and health sectors.
“Every sector in Nigeria should have a girl-child placed high and for that to happen it will start in our schools.”
She, therefore, described Nigerian girls as special, and powerful beyond measure while encouraging them to be focused.