How Investing in Women’s Health Enhances Economic Prosperity – @Lanre_Olagunju

Published:17 Jul, 2014

Lanre Olagunju
Lanre Olagunju
Lanre Olagunju

In his speech during the 2013 International Women’s Day celebration, Barack Obama said “empowering women isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.” …when women succeed, nations are safer, more secure, and more prosperous.” It is essential to note that one of the most important forms of empowerment women and children deserve is the empowerment that caters for their health, because outside good health, any other form of empowerment can’t yield appreciable result.

The health of women can’t be clearly separated from the bigger issues concerned with empowering women. To buttress that point, and see the nexus more clearly, we might need to critically ponder on the UNDP Human Development Report, 2009 which claims that 19 of the 20 countries at the bottom of the United Nations Gender Development Index are in the African Region where women carry a colossal share of the world’s burden of disease and death?

We can’t but keep the health of women and children prominent in the post 2015 agenda. In fact, the commitment to the well being of women and children as it is, is a life long commitment.  We won’t be able to say at any point that we are done with the health of women and children. No we won’t! To say so is to be ready to watch and allow the most vulnerable and most isolated in our society waste away like they don’t matter.

With all the technological advancementsand innovations that our world has recorded, it’s easy to lose sight of the reality that far too many women and children are still dying needlessly for all the wrong reasons you can think of. According to UNFPA, 6.6million children die each year for several reasons.Another report has it that 5.5 million babies enter and leave the planet without a birth or even death certificate. We gradually are becoming numb to these realities, because alreadywe are beginning to see them as mere statistics. No, that shouldn’t  be! We need to start seeing women  and children as the solution. Women in many societies of the world are caregivers, and to a large extent the health and well-being of the child solely lies on the health of the mother. My heart bleeds each time I see a child who survives the mother, I agonize over the heap of sufferings and challenges that such a child will have to go through if the child must live to maturity.

There are a whole lot of benefits in putting the health of women to the fore of national and global discussions. Basically because women’s health is first a human right, and in every sense it should be treated as such. At the same time, there are a couple of socio-economic reasons why these rights should be promoted and taken seriously, basically because it affects the progress and prosperity of every society.

From the sense that health enhances labour productivity, it is important to note that it is only when a women’s health is in good shape that she can make economic contributions to boost the well being of her children. It has been discovered that in cases where women are income earners, they tend to spend more of their earnings on things that benefit the family. Also, it has been discovered that children tend to stay in school when their mothers are alive, well and sound. A study taken in Tanzania affirms that a child’s attendance in school might drop following the death of the mother. The study showed that in families where the mother is late, kids spend half as much time in school compared to cases where the mother is alive and healthy.

This helps to show the huge economic loss attached to just seeing women as statistics or reducing them to objects of childbearing. Investing in women’s health doesn’t just improve the life of their children, it also goes a long way in affecting economic outcomes.  That we may see these things clearly and be able to put them in proper perspective, we first must identify the things women do to contribute to economic prosperity, either directly or indirectly.

One of the very clear sectors where women contribute as much as men or even more, as it is evident in some African countries is in the area of Agriculture. Let’s take Uganda for example, where women produce between 60-80 percent of the food. From the stand point that agriculture is a major source of livelihood for the country, and noting that women play a major role in such sector, it will be only be wise that the health of women benefit from huge investments through well structured health care system which will also pay good attention to maternal and newborn health issues.

We all generally need to do more in terms of getting policy makers to increase their commitment to ensure that women break free from the shackles of illiteracy, poverty, sickness and diseases, singularly because these things have kept women from maximizing their total worth and essence.

 I am @Lanre_Olagunju on Twitter.

P.S A large part of this piece was first Published on the African Union Website CARMMA

The views expressed above are solely that of the author. 

  • Custom adebowale johnson

    CUSTOM AUCTION MOTORS!!! We sell all kind of tokunbo vehicles at a cheaper rate. Car Features Include: Audi A4 N350,000 Audi A6 N500,000 BMW N450,000-N800,000 Honda accord N500,000 Honda Civic N450,000 Honda CR-V N650,000 Honda Odyssey N550,000 Honda Pilot N800,000 Hyundai N400,000-N500,000 Infiniti N750-N1.1m Jeep Liberty N1.1m Kia Sorento N500,000 LandRover N600,000-N1.4m Lexus GS N800,000 Lexus GX460 N800,000 Lexus GX470 N950,000 Lexus RX330 N700,000 Lexus RX350 N800,000 Mazda 626 N550,000 Nissan Quest N450,000 RangeRover Sport N1.4m Toyota 4runner N750,000 Toyota Avalon N500,000 Toyota Avenis N650,000 Toyota Camry N300,000-N900,000 Toyota Corolla N450,000 Toyota Hiace N800,000 Toyota Hilux N800,000 Toyota Rav-4 N650,000 Toyota Sienna N500,000,toyota highlander700,000, Volkswagen Golf N250,000-N300,000′, Call the CUSTOM MARKETING MANANGER ADEBOWALE JOHNSON on this mobile line 08146664165 for more info..You can also call to clear or claim ur goods seized by The Nigeria Custom Service***

  • basket isabelle marant

    stylo mont blanc meisterstuck a845 et le nouveau tabserie sur sont assez bonnesDuke University a créé une page Web où les étudiants peuvent télécharger des cours enregistrés de classe, des cours de langue, des plans de cours audio et le calendrier académique de l’école. Cheryl n’a pas encore nommé un avocat de divorce,j’ai longtemps plat de noter que,stylo plume mont blanc,et non Sherman, mais elle est en passant par les noms et organiser des r&#

  • domain

    Have you ever considered writing an e-book or guest authoring on other blogs?
    I have a blog based on the same information you discuss
    and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my viewers would enjoy your work.
    If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me
    an e mail.

Related Posts

Recent Posts

Lotanna Igwe-Odunze Sugabelly Rape Allegations: Mustapha Audu Speaks!

Mustapha Audu who is currently facing a twitter storm over rape allegations posted by the party named in the email below may be coming out with his own side of the story soon if the email sent from his representative is anything to go by. Read the email which was munched for your reading please below. We will post details as soon as they emerge.

#Pausibility: LOVED A SAVAGE. (@Sugabelly and the rest of us) by Adebayo Coker.

He is already some inches into me. I wriggled my waist severally to free myself from the grip but the more I do that the deeper he gets so I resigned to fate, at least the pain will stop. Jide had invited me to his room on a Friday afternoon. Everyone in the compound had gone out. His mother and siblings had traveled for the Christmas holiday and he...


Yejide has started breaking things. Her hands used to be steady: she could thread the needle in a record time. Since last night however, after she had picked a call on her...

Kenneth Isong: Taraba Ruling; Departure From A Negative Past

There is an advantage to the ongoing developments since the Tribunal gave judgment for Senator Alhassan on the Taraba gubernatorial election. It is obviously an unexpected benefit but in addition to deepening our democracy, the discussions bring into sharp focus the people of Taraba – whose welfare and future should be paramount. The people of Taraba deserve a lot better than what the PDP has been able to offer over the last few years in terms of...

“We’re Not Aregbesola’s Rubber Stamp” – Salaam, Osun Speaker

MR  Najeem Salaam is Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly. Salam, in this interview, he faults the insinuation in some quarters that the Osun Assembly is a mere rubber stamp of Governor Rauf Aregbesola. He also bares his mind on governance in the state among other issues. Excerpts: By Dapo Akinrefon How do you assess Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s fifth year in office The whole country is on vacation. Nobody will say he...

9 Professors Shortlisted For LASU Vice-Chancellor Contest

Nine out of 14 professors have been shortlisted to contest for the post ?of the Vice-Chancellor at the Lagos State University (LASU). A competent source, who pleaded anonymity at the University’s Registrars office, made the disclosure on Friday in Lagos. The source said that 14 professors had applied for the position within the six weeks of the advertisement. “Nine were shortlisted after several considerations of their qualifications and pre-requisites for absorption,’’ the source said.

Tanzanian Govt Officials Jailed For Lateness

Six government officials in Tanzania were jailed this week after turning up late for a meeting, reports said Friday, amid a government campaign to tighten standards and tackle corruption. “The officials spent six hours in custody following the order by the district commissioner,” the Uhuru newspaper reported Friday, in an editorial praising the move. “They showed up two hours earlier on the following day,” it added. The local government official in a suburb of...

ICPC Cautions VIOs Against Extortion, Bribery

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission has advised Vehicle Inspection Officers in Kaduna State to avoid extortion and other forms of corrupt practices. The ICPC North-West Zonal Commissioner, Mr. Olusegun Adigun, gave the advice on Thursday at a two-day workshop for VIOs in the state to enlighten them on the need for integrity and transparency. The workshop with the theme, “Combating Corruption in Vehicle Inspection System: The Role of ICPC”, was organised...

Nigerian Navy Arrest Boat With 400 Truckload Of Stolen Crude Oil

The Nigerian Navy in the Delta state has arrested a self propelled barge loaded with estimated 4000metric tonnes, equivalent of 400 truck load of suspected crude oil in what the Central Naval Command, CNC, described as “a big break in the fight against oil theft” in the Niger Delta. Flag Officer Commanding, FOC, CNC, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman who briefed the press Friday at the Nigeria Navy Ship, NNS Delta in Warri...

Queen Elizabeth Begins Commonwealth Summit With Climate Focus

Queen Elizabeth II opened the 2015 Commonwealth summit on Friday with a colourful ceremony attended by world leaders gathered for pressing talks on climate change. The Queen dressed in an aqua blue coat with pink flowers adorning her trademark hat, was serenaded by a harp as she arrived to a red-carpet welcome at a huge sandstone conference centre on the seafront in the Maltese capital Valletta. As the clock ticks to a UN...

Buhari Engages Queen Of England In A Chat (PHOTO)

President Muhammadu Buhari who is currently in Malta, participating in the 2015 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which began in the island nation Today, is pictured engaging the Queen of England in a conversation. The Commonwealth is made up of Britain, Nigeria and 51 other countries that work together to pursue common goals and promote development, democracy, peace, security and good governance.

‘Church Is For Love’, Gay Ugandans Send Message To Pope

It is a weekend of anticipation for Uganda's LGBTI community. For them, the doors of the church have long been closed. So when Pope Francis' long-awaited first visit to Africa as leader of the Catholic Church brings him to Kampala on Friday, they hope that he comes bearing a message of tolerance after years of persecution, violence and, at times, death. It is an issue that has divided the more conservative African church leaders,...

Police Clamp Down 15-man Syndicate Over Dollar Counterfeiting

Officers of the Nigeria Police Force that constitute the Lagos State Government crime combat team known as Rapid Response Squad (RRS) yesterday arrested five members of a 15-man syndicate which specialised in dollar counterfeiting and defrauding of members of the public. Our correspondent learnt that the suspects identified as, Ade Oladele (32), Friday Philip (33), Israel Ibeh (35), Oyewole Thompson (30) and Onyegbuchi Godwin (31) were arrested in Oko Baba Sule and Wilma Bridge around Olodi...

Weapons Used In Paris Attacks Bought From German Dealer- Report

Four assault rifles used in the deadly Paris attacks were allegedly purchased from a trafficker in Germany, newspaper Bild reported Friday. Quoting documents from the Stuttgart prosecutor’s office, the newspaper said two AK47s and two Zastava M70s were sold on November 7 by the arms dealer to a customer in Paris. “French investigators believe that the weapons were allegedly used in the attacks in Paris,” said Bild. The Stuttgart prosecutor was not immediately available...

Video: The Mavins – JantaManta ft. Don Jazzy, Tiwa Savage, Dr SID, D’Prince, Reekado Banks, Korede Bello, Di’Ja

The Sumpreme Mavin Dynasty presents the music video of JantaManta, a new magical single featuring Don Jazzy, Tiwa Savage, Dr.Sid, D’Prince, Di’Ja, Reekado Banks and Korede Bello. It is produced by Don Jazzy. The magic began 4 months ago when Don Jazzy previewed the early beginning of JantaManta on Instagram and Snapchat. After perfecting the beat, the 6 dynamic and award winning Mavin Record artistes proceeded to add their creative lyrics to bring the song to...

China To Invest $10 Billion In Cross River

The Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, says arrangements have been concluded for Henan Province of China to commence construction of $10 Billion project in the state. He gave the hint about the project agreement while addressing reporters at the Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar on Thursday. Governor Ayade said that the state would witness the arrival of 100 investors from Henan, who would set up various companies and industries in Cross River. He also stated that the...

North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un Orders Countrymen To Copy His ‘Ambitious’ Hair Style

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has ordered men to copy his 'ambitious' hair style limiting growth to a maximum length of 2cm.Anyone breaching the restrictive guidelines face having their hair shorn by authorities, especially in universities, who have been warned to watch out for any capitalist styles. Women are advised to copy his wife, Ri Sol-ju's bob. According to the Sun: 'University student monitors are walking around with scissors and cutting off the hair of offenders.'Kim has let it...

Our Roads Are Dead– Buhari

President Muhammdu Buhari on Wednesday admitted that Nigerian roads are “dead” and required urgent attention of the Federal Government. The president spoke at a dinner he hosted in honour of senators at the new Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja Wednesday night. The event was also attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu; the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu; top government officials and...

Kaduna State Government Approves Compensation For Rimi College Allottees

As part of its human capital development agenda, the Kaduna State Government is committed to expanding access to quality education. Central to its education reform programme is the restoration of the iconic schools whose facilities have been encroached by public institutions and private concerns. The recovery of school lands is imperative to better position the schools to properly discharge their primary mandate.

Nominees of The Future Awards Africa 2015 Hosted At An Exclusive Event By The U.S Consul-General In Lagos

The Future Awards Africa nominees were hosted to an exclusive nominees reception by the United States Consul-General, John Bray, at his residence in Lagos, on Tuesday, November 24, 2015.  He recognized the strides achieved by The Future Awards Africa over the past ten years and commended the inspiring contribution of young Africans who are making a difference in their communities and globally. “I am delighted that my first act in Nigeria is recognizing young people...

Governor El-Rufai’s Statement On The Nigerian Communication Commission Fine

As part of a duty of political responsiveness to Nigerians who are entitled to all the facts, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna, hereby issues this statement on the NCC fine. “At the most recent meeting of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum on Wednesday, 18 November 2015, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission gave a presentation. During the question and answer session that