The Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria (NRHJN) has urged governments at all levels, the private sector and other stakeholders to give women more opportunities to enable them contribute meaningfully to the nation’s development.
In a statement to mark the 2020 International Women’s Day (IWD) , signed by its President, Roland Ogbonnaya and Secretary, Yinka Shokunbi, the NRHJN said the Federal and State governments should do more to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights of all Nigerians, especially that of women and girls, majority of whom have been shown to be vulnerable and more at risk.
It said there is evidence that pregnancies that are too early, too close, too late or too many carry extra hazards not only for the health of the woman but also for the unborn child.
Based on the benefit that family planning can prevent at least 34 per cent maternal death, the NRHJN said every pro-active government should embrace the scaling up of family planning services as one of the maternal survival strategies.
Although, it is incontrovertible that family planning is a life saver of women and children, the current 17 per cent contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) is poor (2018 NDHS). Consequently, achieving the new goal to increase the modern contraceptive prevalent rate (mCPR) to 27 per cent as part of Nigeria’s family planning 2020 commitment, should be a priority.
NRHHN is also clamouring for more family planning uptake in the country saying that presently, the unmet need for contraception among married women ages 15 to 49 years in the country is 23.06 per cent in 2018, according to the World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially recognised sources. Women with unmet need are those who are sexually active but not using any method of contraception, and report not wanting any more children or wanting to delay the next child.
The concept of unmet need points to the gap between women’s reproductive intentions and their contraceptive behaviour.
To this end, the group seeks for an improved health budget and timely release of the funds to pave the way for regular availability of family planning commodities and needed consumables.
Also, there should be inclusion of access to sexual reproductive health services such as the provision of ramp in hospital buildings and private health facilities, the provision of sign language in public places like hospitals and others to facilitate access to care for all category of people, especially women, girls and children.
In addition, the NRHJN is also clamouring for gender equality in every facets of human endeavour, geared towards the realisation of women’s rights in various areas including education, health, poverty alleviation, political and economic empowerment, among others.
Women have a lot to contribute to the Nigerian society; women have the same brain that men have and with these, we believe that the Nigerian women could have the full benefit of humanity in the country. There is need to give equal opportunity to women, men, boys and girls so that every gender can contribute its own quota to the development of the Nigerian society, without the relegation of any particular group to the background.
It urged women to rise up to the situation and equip them with the knowledge that the country is for both men and women and not for only the men.
Women, the released contained need to change their orientation in the way they bring up male children. Women need to bring up male children in a way that they are responsible and see female as co-partners. The society needs to stop the idea of preferring male to female.
Furthermore, the group believed that equal world is an enabled world. Hence, all hands must be on deck to stop all forms of violence against women and children.