The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, says the Federal Government has started a gender-inclusive and responsive budgeting process.
Mrs Ahmad stated this at the virtual 8th Biennial and Scientific Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Kaduna State chapter on Friday.
She said public resources were more likely to be allocated toward investment in human capital development priorities, including child health, nutrition and access to employment when women were involved in public administration.
“Therefore, a gender-inclusive and responsive budgeting process is important because if you want to address healthcare issues, the first point of call is women and girls.
“If we do this well, we will end up with healthier children and a better society, as such, having women in leadership and in governance is critical to inclusive and sustainable development of our country.
“It is, therefore, critical that we continue to work toward increasing the representation of women in leadership positions in all sectors, especially decision making and legislation”, she said.
The minister noted that COVID-19 pandemic had underscored the critical and unparalleled roles that women played as practitioners in the health sector, adding that their contributions were particularly crucial to government and medical professionals’ effort to improve the lives of women, children and vulnerable groups in post COVI-19 Nigeria.
She pointed out the critical link between a strong healthcare system, effective healthcare service delivery and sustainable development of any nation.
She added that “this conference will undoubtedly generate dialogue and catalyse action toward a long term and sustainable solution to the problems affecting the healthcare sector.
“Covid-19 has provided a sobering reminder to all of us that we need to make significant investment in developing and upscaling our healthcare delivery system.
“Doctors and healthcare workers have significant roles to play in influencing economic development in the recovery and reconstruction of the Nigerian healthcare sector,” she said.
Ahmad said 70 per cent of the health and social workers within the global health sector were women, with significant representation at the frontline of the COVID-19 response.
She, however, noted that women accounted for a significantly lower percentage of leadership in the global space.
“This is a challenge for women medical doctors to take up, to increase their representation in leadership positions in the health and all sectors of the economy,” she said.
The Chairperson of the Organising Committee of the conference, Dr. Nana Madugu, thanked the minister for sharing the experiences of women in leadership positions and decision-making in the country.
Madugu, the immediate past Chairperson of MWAN, Kaduna State chapter, said that cultural, traditional and religious barriers remained serious challenges for women in leadership and decision-making, with men suppressing the women in all areas.
She said that the theme of the conference — “Insecurity: A Growing Epidemic within a Pandemic”, was to drive discussions on how insecurity and COVID-19 pandemic changed service delivery in the health sector.
She said that emergency response had significantly improved, while insecurity continued to affect the delivery of healthcare services among other impacts. (NAN)