DevComs calls for adequate protection for women, girls against COVID-19

DevComs calls for adequate protection for women, girls against COVID-19

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark this year’s World Population Day, WPD, Development Communications Network, DevComs, has called on the federal government to provide adequate protection for women and girls in the country against all negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It said that evidences have shown that Covid-19 pandemic has made women and girls more vulnerable with dare consequences including sexual violence, rape, unplanned pregnancy and various other hazards including loss of lives.

According to DevComs, “Women and girls make up over 49 percent of the total population in Nigeria 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.”

It therefore, urged the government to protect and provide for the needs of these ones in line with this year’s World Population Day which focuses on raising awareness of women’s and girls’ needs for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and vulnerabilities during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  

It said: “Women and girls make up over 49 percent of the total population in Nigeria 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. 

DevComs Executive Director, Akin Jimoh, said 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.” 

He said a good sexual and reproductive health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being in all matters relating to the reproductive system, according to UNFPA 2020.

Jimo said: “It implies that women and girls are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life, the capability to reproduce, and the freedom to decide if, when, and how often to do so. A lot of women and girls are not aware of their SRHR.  To maintain a healthy sexual and reproductive health women and girls need access to quality and accurate information on safe, effective, affordable and acceptable contraception of choice.  

“Another major key to addressing SRH vulnerabilities of women and girl’s is to make available modern contraceptives/ family planning (FP) commodities and supplies, including menstrual health and hygiene items.

“This is because these items are central to adolescents’ girls and women’s health, empowerment, and the exercise of sexual and reproductive health and rights as these groups can be disproportionately affected by the pandemic,” he said.

 

DevComs head of operations, Akinpelumi Akinlolu, added: “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.” 

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