The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon is calling on all individuals, government and agencies to support the United Nations Population Fund Agency to create a world of zero preventable maternal deaths , zero unmet needs for family planning and zero gender based by the year 2030.
He made the disclosure at the official launch of UNFPA @50, ICPD@25, and official launch of the 2019 state of the World Report in Abuja.
According to the Resident Coordinator, there has been tremendous changes in reproductive choices as many women in developing countries are imbibing the practice compared to fifty years back.
“In 1969, the average woman worldwide had about 5 children, one in three married women was using some form of contraceptive to delay or prevent pregnancy.
Today, reproductive choices is a reality for many women in developing countries, millions now have control over their own fertility, the total fertility rate is 2.5 worldwide down from 5.0”
“Our work focuses on global population and reproductive health and mainly to assists countries collect, analyse and disseminate data, including population census data, develop policies and program on gender and reproductive health, particularly in maternal & new-born health, family planning, HIV/AIDS prevention, adolescent sexual & reproductive health, gender-based violence and promoting gender equality.”
Kallon however noted that the Cairo Agenda (UNFPA dream) is yet to be realized for all people in all places including Nigeria.
“Aggregate development gains tend to mask widespread inequalities. For too many women and girls, the ideas of ICPD remains an unfulfilled promise. Worldwide, 800 women die from preventable causes during pregnancy and child-birth every day (In Nigeria 111 women die daily during child-birth).There are still 214 million women who want to prevent pregnancy but are not using modern method of contraceptive. In Nigeria one in four women who are in need of family planning services do not have access. Untold millions of women affected by war or disaster are cut off from reproductive health services.”
The Resident Coordinator added that the Total Fertility rate is still very high in many developing countries (it is 5.5 in Nigeria).
“World population has grown from 3.6 billion in 1969 to 7.7 billion today (in Nigeria from 140.4 million in 2006 to 194 million in 2018 at a growth rate of 3.2%). Demographic trends are more diverse aging in the developed world, youth bulge and underemployment in developing world. There is increase urbanization, mobility and displacement and threat of climate change among others.”
Speaking further, he said the ICPD agenda and the sexual and reproductive rights are being challenged like never before, and called for sustained efforts to realize reproductive health and rights.
“Currently, the world aims to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The SDGs are designed to eliminate poverty, discrimination, abuse and preventable deaths, address environmental destruction, and usher in an era of development for all people, everywhere. Universal sexual and reproductive health is central to many of the SGDs including ending poverty, security, good health and well-being, realizing gender equality and achieving sustainable communities, among the 17 goals.”
In his goodwill message, the Representative of the United Kingdom High Commissioner to Nigeria, hinted that the United Kingdom will continue to give support to the United Nations Population Agency in order to achieve the Sustainable Development goals.
He disclosed that the United Kingdom shares the ICPD code that says that all couples have the right to space their children
“We are partnering with the agency because we know they are engaged in a noble cause. We hope that by the time we are having the next ICPD conference, we will have achieved a major goal in the attainment of the Sustainable Development goals.”
The Association of Reproductive and Family Health President , Professor Ladipo reiterated that there has been an increase in the access to reproductive health services in Nigeria,
He however hinted that there is need to invest more in the life of young people and women in Nigeria, so as to bring about development to the country.
“More investment should be done for women and girls, especially in the area of Reproductive health services, more ground need to be covered. So many women in the rural area cannot access the basic health care services in the community, and such do not have access to information that will enable them to make right decisions regarding their reproductive health services”.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Budget and National Planning, pointed out on the need to build a world where no women dies during childbirth.
He added that in 1994 the Contraceptive Prevalent Rate is 8 percent, but in 2018 is now 15 percent.
“An increasing number of people are accessing Family Planning Method more than before. Women need to be empowered such that they are able to make reproductive choices. This will aid them in making better choices regarding their health”
The Permanent Secretary who was represented by, Mrs Elizabeth Egharevba, the Director International Cooperation, stressed on the need to eliminate the barrier that prevent women from exhibiting their Reproductive right.
While at the same time expressed the need to place more emphasis on the investment of women and girls in the rural communities, as many of them still have unmet needs in the area of reproductive health services.
In 1969 the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was born, under the administration of the United Nations Development Programme, with a declaration that family planning is a basic human right. It transitioned and was placed under the authority of the United Nations General Assembly in 1971. In 1994, a blue print which forms the basis of UNFPA’s work, that is the International Conference on Population Programme of Action (ICPD PoA), came into existence.
The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo was a milestone in the history of population and development, as well as in the history of women’s rights. At the conference the world agreed that population is not just about counting people, but about making people count. ICPD delegates reached a consensus that the equality and empowerment of women is a global priority. This was approached not only from the perspective of universal human rights, but also as an essential step towards eradicating poverty and stabilizing population growth. Delegates agreed that a woman’s ability to access reproductive health and rights is the cornerstone of her empowerment and it is key to sustainable development.
A total of 179 governments including Nigeria signed up to the ICPD Program of Action which set out to provide universal access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health services and reproductive rights. It will also address the individual, social, and economic impact of urbanization and migration.