COVID-19: UNFPA to protect women’s, girls’ reproductive rights

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Monday said it would ensure women’s and girls’ choices and rights to sexual reproductive health were respected regardless of their COVID-19 status.

Dr. Sabrina Pestilli, Reproductive-Maternal Health Adviser, UNFPA, said this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

The statement was signed by Mrs. Kori Habib, Media Associate, UNFPA

NAN reports that UNFPA had projected that there could be about seven million unwanted pregnancies globally from the ongoing lockdown.

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Pestilli said there was a need to prioritise health programmes to respond to the infectious disease outbreak which had impacted sexual and reproductive health services.

“We will ensure women’s and girls’ choices and rights to sexual and reproductive health is respected regardless of their COVID-19 status, including access to contraception and emergency contraception,” she said.

Pestilli said that UNFPA would work in synergy with the Ministry of Health to strengthen, fund, implement and integrate gender and sexual and reproductive health into COVID-19 preparedness and response.

According to her, UNFPA will operationalise plans and maintain ongoing Special Reproductive Health (SRH) programmes.

She said the agency was committed to ensuring maintenance of access to healthcare including sexual and reproductive services.

Pestilli said UNFPA would continue to do this even when medical resources were scarce with special attention to pregnant women among vulnerable populations.

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The adviser said UNFPA would continue to show care and love to persons living with disabilities, HIV, and poverty as well as people belonging to indigenous groups in line with their COVID-19 response.

She said: “We will support the supply chain to guarantee the presence of modern contraceptive and also Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to front line medical workers.

“The protection of health workers, midwives, nurses, and anesthesiologists must be prioritised as critical and lifesaving, and they should have personal protective equipment if they are treating patients with COVID-19.”

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