By Ikenna Osuoha
UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has restated its commitment to reducing maternal deaths and Gender Based Violence (GBV) through community engagement and information.
Its Country Representative, Ulla Mueller, said this at the launch of “Text4life App and Youth COVID-19 Handout” in Abuja on Thursday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the handout is designed to assist women in distress, especially pregnant women, to have skilled pregnancy care in primary health centres, as well as survivors of GBV.
Mueller, who described the project as a milestone in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, said it would go a long way in reducing maternal deaths and GBV.
She added that the handout would increase women’s access to not just quality healthcare, but essential integrated services such as Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR).
The UNFPA boss, therefore, urged Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to collaborate with the UN agency and its partners in reducing the impact of the pandemic on pregnant women and females generally.
She added that “we should work together to achieve preventable maternal deaths.
“We will continue to engage CSOs to maintain access to family planning and quality healthcare.
“The project is being implemented in 320 primary healthcare facilities, designed to reduce child marriage and GBV.”
Ms Buky Williams, the Executive Director, Education as a Vaccine (EVA), said community-based approach and illustrations were key to reducing the impact of COVID-19.
Williams, who lauded the UNFPA and its partners for inaugurating the project, noted that more work was required to reduce the impact of the pandemic.
Dr Ibrahim Ibrahim, the Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria (PPFN), commended the UN agency for initiating the project.
Ibrahim, who was represented by Dr Okai Aku, said more than half of the maternal deaths in sub-saharan Africa were as a result of poor access to quality healthcare, HIV/AIDS, among others.
The PPFN official expressed confidence in the project and called for stronger collaboration to sustain it.
Prof. Friday Okonofua, the Programme Director, Women’s Health and Research Centre (WHARC), expressed delight for being part of the implementation partners in the UNFPA initiative.
Okonofua, who was represented by Brian Igboin, expressed satisfaction in working with the CSOs in reversing the negative impact of the coronavirus.
The professor called for equal access to essential services.
NAN reports that the Text4life App is designed to provide easy access to GBV and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights services and information, contraception, menstruation, HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infection testing treatment.
When properly utilised, the application will contribute to closing the unmet need for family planning, reduce maternal mortality, delay marriage, increase access to GBV services and ultimately promote quality health and education for young people. (NAN)