International Day of the Boy Child (IDBC), founded in 2018, is commemorated annually on the 16th of May towards ensuring that the boy child is happy, healthy, valued, does not feel any less important, left behind and always protected from predators.
Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (MWAN) – consistently committed to the good health and wellbeing of women and children, as well as general human development across the nation – this year, collaboratively brought the IDBC to the fore. This was achieved in line with this year’s IDBC theme “Boys and their Mental Health”, where the national and state members of the association organised different programs in their various vicinities to celebrate the boys’ day.
In plateau state, the association branch (MWAN Plateau State Branch) commemorated the IDBC with a road walk on the 16th of May 2023 and media engagements through different radio stations including Highland FM 101.5, Silverbird Rhythm FM and Jay FM in Jos. The aim of these activities was to create awareness about the day and sensitize caregivers, parents, institutions and concerned citizens to pay attention to boys. In their sensitization message, they reiterated that “when we care for the boys, we are also protecting our girls”. Further advocating a holistic approach to bringing up the children in the spirit of equality and not neglecting boys or make them endangered species.
Down south, the members of MWAN Akwa Ibom alongside guests and sponsors, visited the Government Primary School Ikot Essien Nsit, Nsit Atai LGA on Tuesday the 16th of May 2023 as well, to celebrate the IDBC. During the course of their activities, about 78 male pupils were educated on emulating good life morals and becoming model citizens in their communities. The boys were also admonished on the need to abandon certain “entitlement mentality”, as well as abstaining from harmful practices like smoking and cultism – which they are more prone to indulge in.
After the social and health education session, school bags and writing materials were distributed to the pupils, and vote of thanks rendered by one of the pupils and – surprisingly – the only male teacher in the school. Other guests and sponsors for this event include the MWAN Akwa Ibom President, Dr. Ekaette Mbatt and family, Dr. Tiemah Akpabio (President, Rotary Uyo), the Special Assistant to the state Governor on Project monitoring and other MWAN Akwa Ibom executives and members.
Similarly, in Delta state, the medical women of the state celebrated the International Day of the Boy Child at Okotie Eboh Grammar School, Sapele, Delta State – an all-boys school. Where they gave a talk on oral hygiene and the theme for this year’s IDBG to about 500 young boys. After which, pairs of socks were distributed to the boys for their personal hygiene.
Different from these was the first-of-its-kind multi-stakeholder symposium hosted by MWAN National – ably led by Dr. Lillian Adekemi Otolorin, the MWAN National President – to commemorate the International Day of the Boy Child and constructively discuss the theme as well. This program held in Oyo state with the Honourable Minister of Education and other dignitaries in attendance.
However, the Lagos state branch of MWAN, however, have their program scheduled for the coming month in commemoration of the IDBC. This is following the launch the of “Boys For Girls Initiative” by the MWAN Lagos President – Dr Ibironke Sodeinde. According to her, she believes that “an empowered boychild is a valuable asset and a seed for impartation into the future of an empowered girl child directly or indirectly, which affects the stability of homes and a balanced society at large”.
This article was collated from the IDBC 2023 activities report gotten via the MWAN Young Doctors Forum (YDF) Coordinators 2021-2023 Biennium platform.
Acknowledgments: Dr Edesiri Ighorodje (MWAN Akwa Ibom YDF Coordinator), Dr Nana Emeribe (MWAN Plateau), Dr Eguono Ebereghwa (MWAN Delta YDF Coordinator), MWAN National Coordinator and Dr. Agoyi Mary Oluwakemisola (MWAN Lagos YDF Coordinator).