Gender Minister Seeks Better Deal For Kids

Nana Oye Lithur speaking at the event.

Nana Oye Lithur speaking at the event.

Nana Oye Lithur speaking at the event.
Nana Oye Lithur, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, has called for more resources to be used for the development of children in Africa.

Africa, she said, has some of the fastest growing economies in the world, with governments showing commitment to improving the lives of the populace.

It would be not beneficial for a country to move forward and leave its children behind, Nana Oye Lithur stated.

She was speaking at the 2014 Annual UNICEF Session held in New York, US this week.

The four-day session focused on gathering progress reports from various countries and assessing the effectiveness of different policies.

Gender equality and women empowerment, as well as, issues affecting children were key issues that were discussed during the 2014 Annual UNICEF Session.

The special event dubbed, ‘UNICEF Special Focus Session on Africa’s Children’ highlighted problems such as malnutrition, infant and neonatal deaths, lack of education for children and sanitation-related illnesses.

Between 1990 and 2012, deaths of under-fives decreased by 45 per cent.  Sources of clean drinking water doubled from 351 million to 746 million.

Usage of treated mosquito nets has risen from 5 percent to over a third, which helps prevent Malaria, which is the leading cause of childhood deaths in Africa.

A key strategy is to gather and analyze data more effectively. After all, it is hard to solve a problem without full awareness of what that problem is, and whether measures already in place are doing the most good, Ms. Lithur said.

She also called for the involvement of state and non-government institutions to help protect children.

African Outlook
Children in sub-Saharan Africa are 16 times likely to die before their 5 th birthday than children elsewhere, and the poorest children are 4.5 times more likely than rich children to be out of school.

Reports have said that the first few years of a child’s life (including conception) are very important and what happens to them can have lasting consequences for the rest of the child’s life.

By Sarah Jakubowski & Jamila Akweley Okertchiri

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