[From ANIEKAN ANIEKAN, Calabar]
Executive Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPoC), Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra says women and girls suffered more from the COVID-19 induced lockdown.
Besides this, reproductive/sexual health was undermined and also gender inequities exacerbated in the country.
Hon. Kwarra made this known in his speech to mark this year’s World Population Day in Calabar.
The chairman’s speech was delivered by the state director of the NPC Bassey Eteng during this year’s commemoration which has as theme “Rights and Choices are the Answer:Whether Baby Boom or Bust, the Solution lies in Prioritizing the reproductive health and rights of all people”.
“In Nigeria, COVID-19 pandemic impacted more on women and girls during the lengthy lockdown.
“Besides economic challenges, lack of access to basic healthcare, especially a cess to sexual and reproductive health care services, including for family planning, constituted a huge concern.
“It has also exacerbated gender inequities and gender based violence, with an increased incidence of violence under lockdowns”, he said.
He further aded that the frantic efforts to address matters arising from the pandemic impacted reproductive health and family planning suffered complete neglect.
He added that if this is not checked it will have immediate and long-term negative impact on the effort to moderate population growth, improve standards of living and quality of life of citizens during the aftermath of the pandemic.
This year’s theme he said aims to create awareness on strategies to safeguard the reproductive health and rights of women and girls.