The National Population Commission (NPC), on Thursday said women and girls were worst hit by the impacts of COVID-19 in Nigeria, contending that the commission was exploring policies and strategies to checkmate the effects of the pandemic on the womenfolk.
This disclosure was made in Osogbo by the Federal Commissioner, representing Osun State in NPC, Senator Mudashiru Hussein during a press conference commemorating the year 2020 World population day.
Speaking on the theme “Putting the Brakes on COVID-19: How to Safeguard the Health and Rights of Women the Girls Now”, he said women and girls were economically and medically disadvantaged during the lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Represented by the Osun State Director of NPC, Dr Ayeni Olu Emmanuel, Hussein maintained that “the theme of this year’s population day could not have come at a better than now when the world is saddled with the scourge of COVID-19 pandemic and its damning consequences, especially on women and girls.”
According to him, “though the pandemic is global, some categories of persons/sectors are more affected. For example, the informal sector employs about 80% Nigerians and is mainly made up of daily paid workers, who were worse hit by the lockdown. It is pertinent to mention that because most women in Nigeria are employed in the informal sector, the COVID-19 lockdown has impacted more negatively on them than their male counterparts.”
“COVID-19 did not make it easy for women to access and utilise reproductive health facilities especially as the logistics of getting to health facilities were negatively impacted. This situation could have worsened the already high maternal mortality rate of 556 deaths per 100,000 live births.”
“Yet another effect of COVID-19 on women and girls is the noticeable increase in Gender-Based Violence (GBV) ranging from rape, physical and emotional assault, some of which had resulted in the loss of lives. Recent reportage revealed that GBV transcended age, economic, educational, ethnic classification of victims and more often women and girls are the victims”, Hussein remarked.
He, however, assured that “NPC shall continue to pursue its mandate of generating demographic, health and social-economic data for championing the course of all especially for women and girls, as well as advise the government on related issues as our contribution towards ameliorating the adverse effects of the pandemic against women and girls.”
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