Created 28-May-16
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Published Friday 27 May 2016, 23:11 UK

Goodwill Message: Nigeria’s Children’s Day

As we celebrate Nigeria’s Children’s Day, we are reminded of all the essentials that make a child healthy, happy and safe, all of which are vital for a child to survive, thrive, and transform to a long and fulfilling life.

Health and wellbeing for every child begins in the womb, and a healthy mum is far more likely to have a healthy child. A mother’s lifestyle plays a huge part in securing a child’s wellbeing. This is why the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) and I have always advocated for better care and education for mothers during their pregnancy, as we equally dedicate our efforts to improving the skills and capacities of midwives, to ensure our newborns are delivered safely. Immunization is also key to keeping a mother and her baby healthy, and through the WBFA’s Personal Health Record (PHR), midwives and doctors are able to keep a record of the vaccinations and treatments, which a mother has received. This information is key to effectively monitoring a mother and child’s health.

After the womb, breastfeeding is an important source of nutrition for newborns, with one notable exception being newborns of mothers living with HIV AIDS. For most newborns, breastfeeding offers protection against infections, malnutrition and diseases. The WBFA has continually championed and promoted the practice through the Global Breastfeeding Initiative. We at WBFA believe that natural immunization through breastfeeding is essential in reducing child, newborn and even maternal mortality in Nigeria.

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa and I also strongly support gender equality and understand that our country cannot progress without the total inclusion of half of the population. We support the Pledge For Parity through the proposed revised Gender Equality and Opportunities Bill, and stand by The Girl Declaration – that we must put girls at the centre of all our policies, and Let Girls Learn. We need to protect girls in our society and offer them the same access to education and employment, which boys have. One of the reasons why girls do not tend to progress in education or employment to the same extent as boys is due to the outdated practice of early child marriage. We must work harder to retain our girls in education, to stop the dangers of children giving birth to children, and protect our innocent daughters and their childhoods.

On this day, I am also delighted to receive heartwarming messages of appreciation from the students of Holy Child College, Lagos, expressing the value of WBFA's donated mathematical instruments to their studies towards Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, while I am encouraged that one of our daughters, a girl student, just like them, Amina Nkeki has returned safely and is with her family. Let her experience be a reminder to us all of the elevated importance of implementing safeguard policies, which ensure that everyone’s daughters are safe and protected from atrocities like this in the future. My prayers and wishes are with her family and the other girls that are still missing.

Happy Children’s Day and I hope you will all enjoy this glorious occasion with the children in your family, as we continue to work and advocate, for our beloved Nation Nigeria, to be a nation fit for every child, where every child counts, and no child is left behind.


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