Health World Population Day: DevComs Tasks Govt on Women and...

World Population Day: DevComs Tasks Govt on Women and Girls’ Reproductive Health Needs Amidst COVID-19

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By Mayowa Adeniran |

As Nigeria joins the World to celebrate this year’s World Population Day, Development Communications Network (DevComs) has called on the Nigerian government to provide for the needs of women and girls.

The group stated this in line with this year’s World Population Day (WPD) which focuses on raising awareness of women’s and girls’ needs for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and vulnerabilities during the Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Fausiat Bakare-Balogun, Program Officer (Communications), made this known in statement issued on the even of World Population Day.

“It is imperative that the government should provide adequate protection against adversities arising from the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on sexual and reproductive health needs of women and girls in the country.

“Evidence has shown that the pandemic has made women and girl’s more vulnerable with dare consequences including sexual violence, rape, unplanned pregnancy and various other hazards including loss of lives.

“Women and girls make up over 49% of the total population in Nigeria (World Bank) and it is highly imperative that the needs of half the population of the country be prioritized to enhance gender equality for all. Majority of women and girls in the country still live in extreme poverty, are out of school or not aware of their Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR).

These have rendered the group vulnerable as a result of lack of equal opportunities compared to their male counterpart, especially amidst the pandemic,” the statement reads in part.

DevComs Executive Director, Akin Jimoh, stated that “there is a need for sustainable public information dissemination as a first step to address the vulnerabilities revolving around SRH challenges of women and girls in order for them to live a healthy life even in the face of COVID-19.”

The media advocacy project on FP by DevComs Network, in partnership with the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI), The Challenge Initiative (TCI), alongside governments at all levels has proven the media to be a strategic tool to sensitizing women and girls on their SRH rights. DevComs Network in collaboration with TCI is currently training and mentoring journalists across media organisations in 13 states across the country.

The organisation has over the years trained and mentored journalists in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, playing a leading role in strategic communication and media engagement in science and public Health issues concerning different sectors of the Nigerian economy.

The future of our women and girls can be managed wisely doing otherwise can lead to a chain of negative consequences including morbidity and mortality and population explosion, among target groups. The need to empower women and the girl child is urgent and imperative, says Akinpelumi Akinlolu, DevComs head of operations.

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