• Prof Temmerman says there is an urgent need to address these gaps in the health of women and adolescent girls to break the cycle of poverty.
• She urged governments, policymakers and academic institutions to allocate more resources to help in women's empowerment.
A scholar has called for more investment towards improving women’s health, education and empowerment to fast-track the achievement of the SDGs.
Prof Marleen Temmerman said the three areas are very critical to a nation’s sustainability and economic growth. Temmerman is the chair of the obstetrics and gynaecology and the director of the centre of excellence in women and child health at Aga Khan University Medical College.
She urged governments, policymakers and academic institutions to allocate more resources to help in championing women's agenda. She gave a public lecture at the Aga Khan University.
"Special attention must be given to the health needs and rights of women and adolescents girls who belong to one or multiply disadvantaged groups, including those in the poorest households, and recognising the importance of introducing interventions to reduce inequalities and commitment to equality of access and outcome for these disadvantaged groups," she said.
Some of the recommendations highlighted included proper investments towards equipping hospitals and healthcare clinics, training midwives and birth attendants to reduce maternal and child mortality incidence, ending gender-based violence and bringing services closer to where women and girls live.
In addition, equal access and proper investment in quality education, expanding access to family planning, sexual and reproductive health for women and adolescents girls are key interventions that can reduce health inequalities and improve health.
"We urgently need to address these gaps in the health of women and adolescent girls to break the cycle of poverty. Importantly, education and health go hand in hand and empowered women are more likely to have healthier families, improved economic and social status, which in the long-run, has a profound impact on the health status and economy of a country," Temmerman said.
She encouraged academic institutions and healthcare professionals to work closely with parliamentarians and elected leaders through advocacy to address the challenges facing women in health, education, and empowerment.
The lecture was organised by the Aga Khan University Medical College and School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa as part of the 60th anniversary of the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi.
The public lecture series has been running from October 2019 to February 2020.