If you asked me last year what the importance of September 26th is, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. This year has brought a lot of issues to light, but one that has particularly struck me is the unequal treatment of women and girls, from limited economic access and mobility, to poor access to healthcare, and the epidemic of gender-based violence. I was struck by the notion “No matter where you are born, your life will be harder if you are born a girl.” https://www.gatesfoundation.org/goalkeepers/report/2019-report/
I wanted to learn more, and a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to have a candid conversation with HACEY’s Health Expert, Dr. Sajida Muhammed Abdurrahman, a medical officer at the Federal University, Dutse in Jigawa State. HACEY Health Initiative, based in Nigeria, is a development organization focused on improving the lives of vulnerable and underserved populations in Africa. While some would call this reproductive health or family planning, HACEY calls it ‘life planning’ because, at the end of the day, it’s about giving young people, especially young women, the opportunity to plan their futures and build a life that’s not only better for themselves, but better for their families, communities, and Nigeria.
This year on September 26th, I’ll be celebrating World Contraception Day and standing in solidarity with women to demand better treatment for women and girls. In partnership with HACEY, I have learned that improved living starts with women being able to make choices for themselves and for their future. As Dr. Sajida said, ‘Every woman is entitled to her right to health’ and this includes enabling women to make informed decisions about whether and when to have children. This in turn helps to reduce consequences such as unintended pregnancies, and maternal mortality, providing women the ability to consider the education, health and safety of herself and her family.
It is also necessary to educate young people about sex education so they are informed. As Dr. Sajida said ‘it is better to educate them on what they need to do and what they should not do this education will verily prevent them from running a stray path’.
There are many new ways to educate yourself today. By accessing HACEY’s TOMBEY platform at www.tombey.org or by chatting their WhatsApp number (08031230288), young people can gain valuable information about their health, as well as find youth-friendly clinics near them.
I urge you to join me in celebrating World Contraception Day by visiting or sharing HACEY’s TOMBEY platform and by speaking up against gender inequality because this year and every year, it’s the best and only way we’ll build a future for Nigeria that works for everyone.
Let’s decide together that Nigeria will be a leader on the African continent and around the world in ensuring equal education, healthcare, and opportunities, regardless if you are born a boy or a girl.
Yakubu Mohammed is a film actor, producer, director and script writer. He is a Globacom ambassador, SDGs ambassador and former ambassador for Nescafé. Mr. Mohammed has featured in over 100 Kannywood films and more than 40 Nollywood films. He’s known for his leading roles in the hit film Lionheart and the television show Sons of the Caliphate. He also had a role on MTV Shuga in 2018.
Dr. Sajida Muhammed Abdurrahman
Doctor Sajida Muhammed Abdurrahman, works as the Medical Officer at the Federal University, Dutse. She has also volunteered with Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). She has over 5 years of experience working on issues related to sexual and reproductive health and family planning. She looks forward to working on the frontl-ines of change, providing knowledge and enlightening people on their health, especially in the Northern part of Nigeria where she is from, to help them live a healthy and sustainable life.
Founded in 2007, HACEY Health Initiative is committed to supporting women, girls and young people in Nigeria to live a productive and healthy life. HACEY was established to provide sustainable solutions to close the inequality gap that limits women and girls’ access to health and economic empowerment. HACEY is currently working in all 6 of the geopolitical zones in Nigeria.