By Muhammad Auwal
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says more than 2.3 million girls and 1.6 million women need reproductive health services in North East part of Nigeria.
The fund’s Country Reresentative, Dr Eugene Kongnyuy, told newsmen in Abuja that no fewer than 7.1 million women were affected by the insurgency in the region.
He, therefore, called for more commitment to the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in 1994.
The country representative recalled that during the ICPD 1994, 179 countries including Nigeria agreed that population and development were inextricably linked.
He added that the conference adopted a 20-year Programme of Action, which focused on individuals’ needs and rights, rather than on achieving demographic targets.
He said “we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of UNFPA and at the same time we are celebrating 25 years of ICPD 1994.
“The Plan of Action of ICPD 1994 was handed over to UNFPA to coordinate the implementation globally.”
He expressed concern that the Cairo Agenda (UNFPA dream) was yet to be realised for all people in all places, including Nigeria.
According to him, there are more than 214 million women globally who want to prevent pregnancy but are not using modern methods of contraceptive, with 20 per cent unmet need for family planning in Nigeria.
“Worldwide, 800 women die from preventable causes during pregnancy and child birth every day, in Nigeria, 111 women die daily during child birth.
“Total fertility rate is still very high in many developing countries.
“World population has grown from 3.6 billion in 1969 to 7.7 billion today, Nigeria’s population has increased from 140.4 million in 2006 to 198 million in 2018,’’ he said.
The country representative therefore called for full implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action in Nigeria because of its link to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He added that UNFPA remained committed to ensuring that the needs of affected population were met in humanitarian crisis, emphasising that “every birth should be safe, and every pregnancy wanted.”
He said UNFPA was working assiduously to ensure that every young person’s potential was fulfilled and every girl and woman was treated with dignity and respect.