Last week international health and development partners gathered in Abuja to celebrate the Population Council’s 10th anniversary in Nigeria and recognize the organization’s contributions to improving the health and well-being of Nigerians.
The Council hosted a commemorative gala that was attended by over 100 government officials, researchers, policy makers, development partners, community members, and civil society members. During the event, Professor Issac Adewole, Nigeria’s Minister of Health; Julia Bunting, OBE, President of the Population Council; John Bongaarts, Vice President and distinguished scholar at the Population Council; and Dr. Sylvia Adebajo, Country Director for the Population Council’s Nigeria office gave remarks about the Population Council’s history and current role in Nigerian health, particularly in the advancement of sexual and reproductive health for girls and women.
Minister Adewole delivered the gala’s keynote address, focusing on the government’s commitment to implement policies that strengthen the national health system and its services. He also highlighted the Population Council’s role in helping the government achieve its goal of delivering effective, efficient, accessible, and affordable health services.
Bongaarts gave a special presentation on Nigeria’s Population and Development Future. During his presentation he spoke about the country’s rapid population growth and the expectation that the population will quadruple by 2100 if current trends continue. As a result, he emphasized the government’s role in making voluntary family planning programs a development priority.
The Population Council started working in Nigeria in the 1960’s, providing fellowships to local researchers to train in critical areas of health and development. Today the Council’s Nigeria office works to provide protection against and treatment of HIV; deliver high quality reproductive health care services and information; and use evidence-based information to inform policies and programs that empower marginalized girls.