Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund UNFPA, says the fund is committing over 75 million dollars to boost reproductive health and data generation in Nigeria. Osotimehin disclosed this to newsmen in Abuja.
He said the money covered the value of seventh country programme between 2014 and 2017. According to him, the amount budgeted for core programme is 29.2 million dollars while the non–core is 45.8 million dollars.
Osotimehin said that UNFPA had been in Nigeria since its inception in 1969, adding that it had participated in numerous activities in the country. “We have always been working with the Nigerian formations, either regions or states; we also worked with Civil Society Orgnisations.
“What we do in essence is to work with government to ensure that women and girls’ lives are cherished, so that they go to school and stay in school. “So that women, when they are ready, can have their children safely and also space their birth, to ensure they don’t die given birth.
“And they can have the number of children they can afford to have without any issue or coercion; these are the things we do and continue to do,’’ Osotimehin said. The UNFPA boss said that the organisation also collaborated with government to conduct census, adding that the data generated assist government in its projections and planning.
According to him, the body is presently discussing with the National Population Commission on the next census. Osotimehin said that young girls constituted between 30 and 40 per cent of maternal mortality burden in Nigeria.
“We encourage women to take family planning; it enables them to take control of their lives. “When you talk to women and ask them, they will tell you I have six children, but if I had the choice I would rather have three or four.
“The problem always is that they don’t have the opportunity to make those choices, and the choices can be made if they have access to the commodities and are able to make such choices.”
“UNFPA would always be willing to assist women who would want to space their birth, and have the number of children they would want to have by facilitating their access to reproductive services.”
Published: June 1, 2015. By Business Day
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