STAKEHOLDERS in the health and humanitarian sector have called for implementing policies on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for women in conflict areas in Nigeria.
Participants of a stakeholders consultative meeting held in Abuja on Friday, September 29, agreed on the need to address policy gaps and promote access to reproductive healthcare for women, especially in conflict areas.
The event was organised by the Theodora Anavhe Adamu Foundation (TAAF) and was focused on women in the North-Eastern part of the country.
The meeting focussed on “Addressing Gaps in Policy and Access to Reproductive Health Rights for Women in Conflict Context”
Convener of the meeting, Odion Ikyo, pointed out that women and children were at the receiving end of sexual abuses resulting from insecurity in Nigeria.
Ikyo, a Reproductive Health Rights Advocate, presented research carried out in the North-Eastern states which showed that access to sexual and reproductive health care in the region had been relatively low.
She told The ICIR that the event aimed to develop actionable plans that could close policy gaps affecting service delivery in sexual and reproductive health care.
“I believe that policies affect a whole lot. No matter how great my idea is to change things, if there are no favourable policies, it would even go far. So, since some lawmakers were represented here, we are hoping as we send this to the ministries and the National Assembly, they will be able to come back to review all these laws and check if they need to strengthen the mechanisms they have or train more service providers,” she said.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Betty Edu was represented by Mfawa Usani, who urged subnational governments to complement the federal government’s efforts in addressing the issue.
“Most of those government sectors are not doing what they should do. And that is as if the government is not working. No matter what we want to do at the federal level, if the state and the local government are not replicating our efforts, the government will not work. That is where the gap is. That is why it looks as if the policies are not working,” she said.
She urged the various government sectors to be more proactive in health and reproductive rights issues.
Those present at the event include representatives of the Ministries of Women Affairs, Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Foreign Affairs, the Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and some lawmakers.