By Fidelis Daniel Bawa
Education and good healthcare are key components to the fundamental human right. And, like other human rights, these two cannot be taken for granted. Across the world, 59 million children and 65 million adolescents are out of school and lack access to good healthcare. More than 120 million children do not complete primary education and over 150 children die of poor healthcare.
Behind these figures there are children and youth being denied not only a right, but opportunities: a fair chance to get a decent job, to escape poverty, to support their families, and to develop their communities.
A few weeks ago, Adamawa state governor, Senator Muhammad Umar Jibrilla Bindow set the priorities for for a continuous development of the two sectors for generations to come. The governor took a decision to place education and health top of his administrative list.
In a progressive move to signify his administrative vision, the governor declared a state of emergency in the basic education sector, which comprises of primary and secondary schools. Towards this end, two teachers training colleges are to be established immediately.
Bindow’s live touching governance in the education sector has so far resulted in recruitment of 71 IDP teachers, transfer of 677 IDP students to 43 FUCs, relaunch of back to school enrolment, land donation to Rochas Foundation and installation of container classrooms at many primary schools in the state.
The governor has also approved the renovation of all the dilapidated secondary schools in the state and the immediate provision of learning materials to all schools across the state. A committee is also established to look at the standard of teacher’s tutor capacity.
The challenge is daunting. Many of those children who remain out of school are the hardest to reach, as they live in areas that are held back by conflict, disaster, and epidemics. But the continuous push by Bindow’s administration is likely to be have a maximum reach to these children.
Likewise, ensuring that girls are not kept at home when they reach puberty, but are allowed to complete education on the same footing as their male counterparts, is not just altruism; for governor Bindow, it is sound economics. That is why he wants to ensure that communities in the state succeed in achieving gender parity in education, which will reap substantial benefits relating to health, human development, and job creation.
Bindow already stated that he is not stopping with primary and secondary education. In today’s knowledge-driven economies, access to quality higher education and the chances for development are two sides of the same coin. That is why he has set targets for higher education, while improving quality and learning outcomes at all levels.
Better health is central to human happiness and well-being. It also makes an important contribution to economic progress, as healthy populations live longer, are more productive, and save more.
Many factors influence health status and a state’s ability to provide quality health services for its people. Ministries of health are important actors, but so are other government departments, donor organizations, civil society groups and communities themselves.
For example: investments in roads can improve access to health services; inflation targets can constrain health spending; and civil service reform can create opportunities – or limits – to hiring more health workers. It is to this end that the governor has launched a total reformation in the state’s health sector.
In just short period of time, Bindow has renovated almost all the hospital affected by the insurgency in the State, developed a strategic health plan for the state from 2016-2020 and had a 97% coverage in the last national immunization day for measles. The governor also recently approved the plan employment of 149 nurses in the state.
Governor Bindow is concerned with the impact of better health on development and poverty reduction, and conversely, with the impact of his development policies on the achievement of health goals. In particular, he aims to build support across tiers of government for higher levels of investment in health, and to ensure that health is prioritized within overall economic and development plans.
In this context, his administrative work will push more support for health policies that respond to the needs of the Adamawa people, and to further worn with donors and contributors to ensure that aid for health is adequate, effective and targeted at priority health problems.
It is imperative that the governor should not be left alone in this quest to turn around the fortunes of these two key human development sectors. Every stakeholder – from well-meaning individuals, Senators, federal and state lawmakers as well as civil societies and progressive group should all key into this progressive venture.
I wish to call on our federal and state Lawmakers to show more benevolence by also investing more constituency projects on the education and health sectors in support of this administration’s objective of pushing both sectors forward. I am sure this kind of support will encourage the governor and spur him to sustain this developmental tempo.
Together, we need to intensify efforts to bring the poorest and hardest to reach children into the education system and make available good accessible healthcare to the people of Adamawa.
Education and healthcare are rights for everyone. They are rights for men and women, for girls, just as it is for boys. They are rights for the over four million (4 million) children and youth in communities affected by crises and conflicts.
Education and healthcare are rights regardless of where you are born and where you grow up. It is time to help governor Bindow ensure that these rights are upheld.
Bawa wrote in from Yola and can be reached on [email protected]