Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Director General of West African Monetary Institute (WAMI), Dr. Ngozi Egbuna, has said children in the North East of Nigeria have the lowest survival rate of 34 per cent.
In her paper entitled, “Women Empowerment and Child Mortality in Nigeria: A Survival Analysis Approach” presented at the National Association of Statistics (NAS) conference in Awka, Anambra State, the DG put the survival rate of children in the North East at 34 per cent as against North
Central’s 42 per cent.
She noted that while the survival rate in South South was 50 per cent, that of South West is 55 per cent.
Similarly, children in the urban areas of the country have 29 per cent survival rate compared to 71 per cent survival rate of children in the rural areas.
Regretting that women empowerment does not impact child mortality in Nigeria, she recommended that the government should invest in the development of girl-child, while noting that there was need for more spending in gender equality with specific focus on women’s economic empowerment.
“Government should address constraints facing women workers and entrepreneurs through executive orders, trade agreements, persuasion, enactment of laws to potential women against domestic violence.
The government should also establish a proper system to capture data on developments in women empowerment and infant mortality for continuous assessment,” she advised.
According to her, women status plays a pivotal role in the development process and assist in achieving higher growth and healthy environment.
“The need for empowerment is in response to years of high gender disparity. In essence, the smooth running of families, communities and global societies have been associated with gender wellbeing of female population, which account for half of most societies,” she said.
Egbuna explained that gender discrimination exists in most developing countries in form of limitation to participating in education, income-earning activities, lack of independence in decision-making, restricted access to resources, excessive time-burden and dual responsibilities.
“Women empowerment can be achieved through training and education, promotion of autonomy in decision-making; grater chances for employment and income generation and access to credit and capacity to own property and assets.
There are empirical evidences linking women empowerment to better health, productivity, reduction in infant mortality,” she insisted.