In commemoration of the World Population Day, the Resident Representative of the
So we have fistula programmes as a result of these, to try to address maternal mortality, the problem is that they end up dying usually. So we have family planning programmes for healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies. We also have a supply chain management programme which addresses all these, because we need the commodities and the drugs. So we buy a lot these, we support the governments who also put in a lot of money into the basket for us to procure these family planning commodities which are called reproductive health life saving drugs. We also support the distribution system, working with government. We have also recently been supporting the ware housing, so it's like we support the whole chain. We renovated the contraceptives warehouse in
Due to cultural and religious sensibilities, many Nigerians shy away from discussing teenage sex, teenage pregnancy and such issues. How feasible is this in the face of contemporary realities?
This is right because a section of reproductive health matters is a very sensitive area for many people, but it is not an area that we can afford to ignore, because the truth is that young people do have sex. Yet because of our culture in
How many pregnancies are too much?
We do not give numbers, but the person has had so many of them that the uterus is now so weak after being stretched and over stretched. It has been stretched too many times, people differ in terms of their body constitution, so what may be too many for one person is okay for another. So we cannot prescribe numbers here but a woman should have just enough children that would allow her to stay strong. We are talking of risky pregnancies, and even in family planning, we advocate that people have the number of children that they are able to take care of comfortably: feed, educate, provide health services, clothe and generally live a comfortable life, while the person is also psychologically comfortable; not to be stressed to the point that you no longer enjoy the children. If you have 13 or 15 children, it's okay if you can take care of them without doing unethical or illegal things, you can feed them well, send them all to school. But we know practically, that is hard. Some parents die from ailments like high blood pressure: this is a disease that comes from numerous pressures from challenges that they cannot solve because they feel the family is too huge and they cannot manage it. So we should do what leaves us comfortable.
Does the UNFPA implement any specific programmes on Safe Pregnancy?
Yes, we do have. We have a girl child initiative, it's fairly new but we are really looking forward to expanding it. The initiative is something we are excited about because we are working with school girls to create safe spaces for their learning. We started with 200 girls and another 80 whom we managed to bring back to school. The programme encourages the girls to continue with education until they finish secondary and go to tertiary, with us supporting their education. Then we work with role models mothers because the issue of child rearing is very important. So the role model mothers are catalysts in their education, who the girls can wish to be like. We get them to work with the girls, talk to them and encourage them.
How would rate the success of the MDGs specifically as it concerns women issues?
Since we are talking post 2015 MDGs, let me say that right now, UNFPA has initiated a global selfies youth campaign where we hope to have millions of selfies from young people. Their photos would all be used as a campaign to say we need a youth goal, specifically targeted at young people, because if there is no goal around a certain area, all funds in the development world or from donors, comes through the agreed goal. So they are funding these things, and the youth are supposed to benefit, sometimes it gets lost. But if there is a goal for young people, then there would be funding specifically for them, whether in education, employment, health and everything targeted at them.
We are encouraging Nigerian youths, if they put their selfies up; it means they have put most of
How has it been collaborating with the Federal Government in
UNFPA works with state governments, but we work with the Federal Government because it provides the policy guidelines, overall coordination and monitoring. So we have that collaboration and in each state we have a number of commissioners we work with. We are in process of trying to develop a multi-sectoral programme because we are currently working with the other UN agencies under the leadership of the Resident Coordinator, on what we call the demographic dividend initiative. It is just starting, but what we are saying is that it is necessary to harness
What challenges does the UNFPA encounter in implementing its programmes in
Some of them have to do with understanding some of these terminologies we are talking about. Personally I feel there is need for more dialogue to explain the meanings because the meanings people have of certain terms are not accurate. It's like throwing away the baby and the bath water, then everything is lost. Things like sexuality education: some people think it's something else from what we have been explaining. They think it teaches children to be promiscuous. But sexuality education is to teach the young adolescent to delay sexual activity and focus on education, help them understand that if they do certain things, they will get pregnant. So we need dialogue to explain the advantages of some of the things that are not understood well, and therefore not taken.
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