AS nations mark the World Population Day (WPD) today, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has described Gender Based Violence as a pandemic within the COVID-19 pandemic, while noting how one woman in three have experienced physical or sexual violence in her lifetime.
UNFPA’s Media Associate, Mrs. Kori Habib, in a statement on Saturday in Abuja, on behalf of the Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem, stated that the about 47 million women, mostly “in low-and middle-income countries may be deprived of modern contraceptives, resulting in seven million unintended pregnancies.”
In a speech, “Peace in the home: Safeguarding the health and rights of women and girls – even during COVID-19,” to commemorate WPD, Kanem stated that the impact of COVID-19 would likely hamper global efforts to achieve three ‘zeros’ at the heart of our UNFPA’s works.
Kanem stated further that: “UNFPA projects, for example, that the pandemic will cut global progress towards ending gender-based violence within this decade by at least one third.”
She said that the COVID-19 crisis has taken a staggering toll on people, communities and economies everywhere, noting that not everyone was affected equally as women and girls tend to suffer most.
Kanem however reiterated calls for global attention to the vulnerabilities and needs of women and girls during the COVID-19 crisis aimed at protecting sexual and reproductive health and rights and ending the shadow pandemic of gender-based violence.
The WPD is aimed at spreading awareness about the increasing world population and the importance of reproductive health.
The three zeros are zero unmet need for contraception, zero preventable maternal deaths, and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices against women and girls by 2030.
“UNFPA is working to ensure that the supply of modern contraceptives and reproductive health commodities is maintained and that midwives and other health personnel have the personal protective equipment they need to stay safe.
“We are encouraged that so far 146 member states have signed on to the Secretary-General’s call to make peace in the home a reality, and we are partnering to support them.
“As part of our COVID-19 response, we are innovating to deliver remote services such as hotlines, telemedicine and counselling, and gathering and using disaggregated data to support governments in identifying and reaching those most in need.
“Positive public messaging around gender equality and challenging gender stereotypes and harmful social norms can reduce the risk of violence. In this, men and boys can and must be key allies.”
The UNFPA boss said that sexual and reproductive health care was a right, and like pregnancies and childbirth, human rights could not stop for pandemics.
According to her, “together, let’s put the brakes on COVID-19 and safeguard the health and rights of women and girls now!”canvassed for global synergy between countries and organisations saying no organization or country could do this alone.
“The pandemic is a stark reminder of the importance of global cooperation. The United Nations, which this year marks its 75th anniversary, was founded to foster international cooperation to solve international problems.
“As the global community comes together in solidarity to survive this pandemic, we lay the foundation for more resilient, gender-equal societies and a healthier, more prosperous future for all.” (NAN)