NIGERIA: As the world marks World Population Day, the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) has called on governments at all levels to close the gap caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in Sexual and Reproductive health services.
The UNFPA Executive Director, Dr Natalia Kanem in a message to commemorate World Population Day stated that it is the responsibility of the health system to uphold the sexual and reproductive rights of its citizens.
“On World Population Day, join me in calling for closing the gaps everywhere. Sexual and reproductive health services are essential and not optional.
“The pandemic may influence choices but the right to decide when and how to have a family does not change nor does the responsibility of health systems to uphold that right,” she said.
In the message obtained from the UNFPA website by Transcontinental Times, the United Nations Sexual and Reproductive Health Agency observed that the COVID-19 pandemic had made some people postpone childbearing while for others, the disruption in healthcare led to unintended pregnancies.
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“The disruption in health services have laid a lot of concern about baby boom or baby bust but the real cause for an alarm comes when people cannot exercise their reproductive rights or choices.
” What does lead to healthy and productive societies is when women can make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health, and when they have access to services to support their choices”, she said.
World Population Day 2021
The theme for World Population Day 2021 is “Rights and choices are the answer: Whether baby boom or bust, the solution to shifting fertility rates lies in prioritizing the reproductive health and rights of all people.”
The UNFPA advised against reactionary policy responses, which can be extremely harmful if they violate rights, health and choices.
The Agency further called for prioritizing reproductive health and rights for all through access to information and services in the face of fertility and demographic shifts.