As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark 2023 International Women’s Day, IWD, a nonprofit making organisation, Sightsavers, Monday, called for inclusive and accessible healthcare services for women and girls.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Communication Associate, Sightsavers Nigeria, Joy Tarbo, where the organisation disclosed plans to celebrate pioneering women who are fighting for inclusion of women, girls and Persons With Disabilities, PWDs, to access healthcare services in their communities.
The 2023International Women’s Day is celebrated every March 8 in honour of women’s contributions to society, economy, culture, and politics. It is also an occasion to consider the steps taken towards achieving gender equality in all spheres of life and the work that remains to be done.
The 2023 International Women’s Day with the theme ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality’, which points out that women make up only 22 per cent of artificial intelligence (AI) workers globally.
A global analysis of 133 AI systems across industries found that 44.2 per cent demonstrate gender bias, and a survey of women journalists from 125 countries found that 73 per cent had suffered online violence in the course of their work.
While quoting the Country Director, Sightsavers Nigeria, Dr Sunday Isiyaku, as saying, “Without action, women will continue to go blind in greater numbers than men and continue to have their contribution to education and employment curtailed.”
Sightsavers works with partners in Nigeria to dismantle the barriers that prevent women and girls from accessing adequate health care and to promote the right to health for every individual, whilst challenging negative stereotypes. It also campaigns so women and girls can exercise their right to get an education and employment.
The statement continues, “There are many ways in which women are excluded from healthcare. Women with disabilities are three times more likely not to access the healthcare they need, compared to men without disabilities.
“Women are more likely to be blind or have visual impairment than men and have poorer access to eye care services. For example, women are up to four times more likely to develop advanced trachoma than men and are nearly twice as likely to be blinded by this excruciating disease.
“Furthermore, women and girls with disabilities experience a higher risk of violence and abuse and continue to be neglected in sexual and reproductive health policies and programmes.”
Meanwhile, in recognition to the contributions and struggle for inclusion of women and PWDs, Sightsavers Nigeria is also celebrating “the Director of Programme Operations, Sightsavers, Dr Joy Shu’aibu who oversees programmes to confront the barriers that stop women with disabilities getting access to the health, education, and employment opportunities they need.
“This includes leading the charge to making sexual and reproductive health services accessible, an area where people with disabilities face harsh discrimination.
“Dr Shu’aibu said: “It is a fact globally that women in comparison to men, face barriers in terms of economy, in terms of health, in terms of access to education, and sources of livelihood. But we also note that women with disabilities will face much more barriers, because they’re the ones who are unlikely to get a good education, and because they cannot get a good education, they set out economically disadvantaged.”
“She added that “because we have noted that is a priority, the things that Sightsavers is doing, especially under the Inclusive Futures programme, is first and foremost trying to mobilise women with disabilities so that they can have a voice and fight for themselves.”