The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) after a presentation of the 2017 State of the World Population Report (SWOP) has called on the Nigerian government to ensure the protection of women and adolescent girls.
The Deputy Country Representative, UNFPA Nigeria, Dr Eugene Kongnyuy, while presenting the report in Abuja made the call.
According to the theme of the report which was tagged “World Apart: Sexual Health and Rights in Age of Inequality”, Dr Kongnyuy, stressed that the theme focused on inequality in sexual and reproductive health and its impact in the society.
Dr Kongnyuy said: “on the impact of sexual and reproductive health to society, the issue is that if women and girls do not have adequate access to sexual and reproductive health services, the society will have less Gross Domestic Product.
“It will also make the family to become poorer.”
He warned against early marriage stressing that girls should not be allowed to marry before the age of 18 and further advised that families should have access to family planning as well.
He said young and adolescent girls being allowed to go to school, gives them the enablement to make decisions for themselves.
Speaking to the country as a whole, he said in order to reduce inequality, government must ensure that women and girls access family planning services and more girls be enrolled into schools.
The Country Representative of UNFPA, Dr Diene Keita, had earlier said that the agency has been working to decrease maternal mortality indices and ensure that young people and adolescents got the healthcare they needed in Nigeria.
According to her, the report submitted was a new beginning for the agency to ensure that women and young girls got the services they needed under the new country programme starting in 2018.
While matching up the standard of living of women with family planning, the country representative said that when more women get educated, more chances would be open to them to contribute to the development of the society.
She noted that the report focused on the importance of education and good health services, stressing that education and health were the two major tools for development of any country.
“Any country that makes good investment of these two key sectors will make women to rise up and make positive contributions to the society,’’ she added.
In his final remarks, the Director-General of National Population Commission, Dr Babagana Wakil, said “the report links wealth to existing inequalities in access to reproductive health services.
“Reducing inequalities in reproductive health paves way for prosperity for all but principally for women and girls in poor households to overcome disadvantages in education and income earnings.”