HMGSF with Vision Spring Initiatives (VSI), has called for increased awareness on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) among women and girls.
The Project Director of VSI, Ngozi Nwosu-Juba, said when youths are informed about sexuality and their rights, it would enable them to make the right decisions on sex.
Speaking at a media dialogue on the outcome of a high-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage: Making SRHR work for women and girls, she said because some Nigerians were not informed on sexuality, pregnant young girls had no one to confide in, they use hanger and substances to undergo an unsafe abortion and in the process develop several health complications.
She stressed the need to have sexuality conversations with youths, noting that these people battle with a lot of things. “They have their phones and the internet to tell them what to do, hence the need for the government, parents, religious leaders, schools and media organizations among others to rise up and give young people the right information and education on SRHR,’’ she said.
She lamented that some educated parents were too busy to educate their children, while uneducated ones do not have skills to pass to the children.
“Nigeria is still backward and we are shying away from information on SRHR. Girls have the right to determine how their body should be used and if they have the right information, their body will not be used wrongly,” she noted.
She said the government must up their game, face the reality and make provisions for more health workers that understand young people, adding that unsafe abortion is on the increase.
“The government must invest in its Primary Healthcare facilities, poor people should not pay for health at the expense of their food and the education of their children. The government should ensure comprehensive SRHR as a means of tackling unmet needs of a whole range of services young people require. The government should ensure gender budgeting, support domestic funding for health and reduce over-dependence on external funding. They should partner with civil society organizations as they are close to the people and can provide useful tips on health care and wellbeing. SRHR is essential to protecting the overall wellbeing of women and girls,” she said.
Executive Director, His Marvelous Grace Support Foundation, Mrs. Oluwadamisi Tayo-Ladega called for efforts to ensure SRHR awareness.
“In cases of child abuse, we must all speak out on perpetrators; we must not be silent because rape cases are on the rise. Victims are emotionally and psychologically not balanced, hence the need to speak out,” she said.
She noted that with the right information and education on SRHR to women and girls, victims of sexual abuse would reduce because people would be informed.
Executive Director, Community Women’s Right Foundation, Lateef Akinborode, added that children must be educated on the level of information they should expose themselves to over the internet and entertainment channels.
Executive Coordinator, Ajoke Ayisat Afolabi Foundation, Foluke Ademokun said there was a need to insist that the government should promote infrastructure that would empower women and girls to get their needs met, adding that one of the reasons girls could get into sex early is due to poverty.
“There is the need for accountability on perpetrators and they must know the consequences,” she said.