Stakeholders in maternal, child and adolescents health on Tuesday said public private partnership remained the key to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
They made this known at the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA), organised in collaboration with the Access Bank and Hacey Health Initiative, an NGO, in Lagos.
Its theme is:, “Sustainable Population Growth, Demographic Dividend and the Future of Nigeria: The Role of the Private Sector.”
Dr Jide Idris, a former Commissioner for Health in Lagos State, said that multi-stakeholder collaborations were very vital to the attainment of SDGs.
Idris said private sector was in a strategic position to promote inclusive sustainable position and target that addressed the need to invest in human capital.
“This is particularly around access and full realisation of health rights and gender equality for the most vulnerable individuals, often women, adolescents, youths and girls.
“Theme of this event cannot be more apt considering the fact that we have only 11 years remaining to fulfill the SDGs.
“Nigeria has continued to grow rapidly in comparison to many other countries of similar size.
“The government alone is unable to solve these challenges due to underinvestment, especially in the health sector.
“Without private sector engagement, these problems will remain prevalent and thus render jobs creation for the growing population almost impossible.
“This provides a strong incentive for the private sector to be actively involved in harnessing the democratic dividends and the achievement of universal access to sexual and reproductive health,” he said.
Also, Head, Sustainability, Access Bank, Mrs Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, said there was need for private sector to partner with the government and multi-lateral organisations.
According to Victor-Laniyan, this is to strategically harness the opportunities rested in the population in order to achieve the goals.
“You cannot underestimate the essence of public private partnership and partnerships with the multi-lateral organisations such as the UN.
“The UN provides a platform for the private sector and the government across the world to be able to work effectively and carry out implementation of their various sustainable development initiatives.
“The role of UNFPA has to do with the control of population growth in a strategic manner that will help enhance sustainable development.
“Our population is increasing, but we do not have the relevant strategy to address population growth,” she said.
Also, Mr Isaiah Owolabi, a Project Director, Hacey Health Initiative, said that investment in women and girls, especially in their sexual and reproductive health and rights, could accelerate development.
Owolabi said: “Our day to day lives is all about creating investments for young people to lead a healthy productive lives.
“This is the way development should go; statistics and figures have shown that investment in young people can create a long-lasting and productive society.
“UNFPA’s anniversary is just to re-emphasise the work UNFPA and other partners have been doing over the years to actually invest in the health, productivity and rights of women and girls. “
In his remarks, Dr Eugene Kongnyuy, the Acting UNFPA Representative in Nigeria, said significant improvement had been made by the organisation in the areas of women and girls’ health in the past 50 years.
Kongnyuy said that more women have access to family planning services than they had 50 years ago.
He said that over 200 million women who still needed family planning service could not have access.
“The day UNFPA was born, we were 3.6 billion in the world; today, we are 7.7 billion; the world population has more than doubled in the past 50 years.
“People have more choices and rights in the area of gender equality; maternal mortality has also significantly dropped.
“It is still far too unacceptable, because 800 women die everyday of maternal mortality related causes, but it has significantly reduced in the past 50 years,’’ he said.