Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr. Sani Aliyu, has said that women must be empowered to transform their perceived social disadvantage to opportunities if the country must break the cycle of poverty, disease and particularly reduce the HIV burden.
Aliyu, who stated this in his International Women’s Day (IWD) message, called on all stakeholders to rededicate and reposition themselves in improving the quality of life for women.
“Let us build on past achievements and experiences to eliminate gender inequality, tackle girl child abuse and violence and ensure that our women are not left behind in our quest for a HIV-free generation,” he urged.
March 8th is set aside annually to commemorate the International Women’s Day. Organisations, governments, charities, women’s groups and others organise events globally to mark the day and commit to upholding achievements on gender equality and women empowerment. The theme for this year’s event is “Time is Now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives”.
According to Aliyu, this year’s event comes on the heels of unprecedented global advocacy for women’s rights, equality and justice as poverty, sexual harassment, violence and discrimination against women continue to engage public discourse, propelled by a rising determination for change.
These factors, he said are also well-recognised drivers of the HIV epidemic in young women while noting that this year’s theme provides an opportunity to transform this momentum into action, to empower women in all settings, rural and urban, and celebrate the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights and realize their full potential.
He observed that the strategy is equally important in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) of leaving no one behind.
“Evidence exists that gender-related interventions are potent tools for breaking the inter-generational cycle of poverty, particularly for disadvantaged women and girl children. Enabling economic empowerment and providing sustainable livelihoods for this population will reduce the rate of new HIV infections and bring us closer to achieving HIV epidemic control by 2030”, he stated.
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