By Oluwafunke Ishola
A Reproductive Health Specialist, Dr Omolaso Omosehin, has appealed to the Lagos State Government to establish youth friendly centres and young mums clinics in rural areas of the state.
Omosehin, former Head, Lagos Liaison Office, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said this during the World Population Day celebration on Monday in Lagos.
He said this while speaking on the topic: “Focuses on how to safeguard the health and rights of women and girls; and putting the breaks on COVID-19”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme was organised by UNFPA and Lagos Bureau of Statistics, a department in the state’s Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget (MEPB).
Youth friendly centres are under the Hello Lagos Project, an Adolescent/Youth Sexual Reproductive Health Unit of the Lagos State Ministry of Health, initiated in 2002, funded and supported by the UNFPA.
The youth friendly centre and young mums clinics aim to address the challenges of teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, unsafe pregnancies, after-school coaching, among others.
Omosehin noted that collaborative and strategic efforts should be intensified to promote safe sexual practices among youths, especially in rural areas where the centres and clinics are nonexistent.
He also appealed to the state to effectively regulate the activities of traditional birth attendants (TBAs) to ensure they assist improve maternal health care and not cause havoc to the system.
Omosehin commended the state for making significant progress in sexual and reproductive health of women and girls, notable was provision of reproductive health as part of primary offerings in health insurance.
The expert listed purchase and distribution of contraceptives, prevention and management of gender-based violence, provision of mother and child centres in each local government, among others.
According to him, the health of women and girls is linked to their human rights.
“Every individual should be able to decide freely the number, spacing and timing of their children.
“Collectively, we must guarantee the abillity to make reproductive and sexual health decisions free from discrimination, coercion and violence.
“The services that help us reach this goals must be affordable, accessible and meet international standards of quality,” he said.
Omosehin attributed violations of women sexual reproductive health and rights to societal beliefs and values, patriarchal concept of women’s role in family, among others.
He said that it could be tempting to conclude that population dynamics was the root cause of multiple, intersecting challenges facing the world.
“Some blame dwindling resources and raging conflicts on there, being ‘too many’ of us; others fear falling birth rates will leave the planet devoid of people, with ‘too few’ of us to sustain life as we know it,” he said.
Omosehin advised that the narrative should be changed from the ills of ‘too many’ or ‘too few’ global population to critical issues and upholding fundamental human rights principles as road map.
He added that it should be guided by World Health Organisation’s recommendations of strengthening health systems capacity, improve information for priority setting, mobilising political will and creating supportive legislative and regulatory framework.
Similarly, Dr Yakubu Alli, Fertility Specialist, UNFPA, advised the state and country to utilise the various data at its disposal for planning and decision making to reap demographic dividend.
Also, Mr Ibrahim Obajomo, Permanent Secretary, MEPB, reaffirmed the state’s commitment to improve the health and right of women and girls.
Obajomo, represented by Mr Bayo Ogunsola, Director, Economic Planning, MEPB, said the state would do this through improved provision of comprehensive health services, empower them with knowledge and resources and create an environment where they can thrive.
He noted that this would enable the state build an inclusive, resilient state where every women and girls can fulfil their potentials and contribute to a sustainable future.
Similarly, Mr Tayo Oseni-Ope, Director, Lagos Bureau of Statistics, said the state would leverage its huge population and improve on health, education and rights of women and girls. (NAN)
Edited by Olawunmi Ashafa