By Simeon OSAJIE
As part of the activities to mark this year International Women’s Day (IWD), Edo State government through the State Ministry of Health (SMoH) has released funds to implement, adapted high impacts intervention/practices across the 18 local government areas of the state.
This was made known by Edo State Commissioner of Health, Prof. Obehi Akoria through Dr. Stanley Ehiriamwian, Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Health during press briefing in Benin City.
According to the Commissioner Akoria, putting women at the forefront is a key to development and enables them participate in decisions concerning their education, sexual, reproductive health and rights.
She opined that Edo State government is positioned to continually create innovative ways of helping women realize their full potentials and become leaders at all levels of the system.
“Evidence has shown that interventions targeted at women and girls yield positive impact in all sectors most especially when supported by men. Edo State government in collaboration with The Challenge Initiative (TCI) and other implementing partners has made some giant strides in her Family Planning and Adolescent and Youth program implementation.
“With an annual population growth rate of 2.7% (National Population Commission 2022), a total fertility rate of 4.8, unmet need of 32.7%, Contraceptive Prevalence Rate of 19.4% (NDHS, 2018), the State is poised to improve their health indices through this partnership.
“The Challenge Initiative (TCI) has supported Edo-State in using digital media platforms amongst others to correct myths and misconceptions about family planning (FP) and improve social norms in favour of FP among women of childbearing age in the implementing geographies across the country.
“Access to FP information remains a barrier to Edo women particularly rural women and those in underserved communities. The use of various digital platforms such as whatsapp, text messaging, twitter, instagram and facebook to disseminate factual FP information to women and their social networks particularly young women who frequently access the internet has increased their desire to take up voluntary family planning methods,” she said.
Continued: “Edo State government has identifies with innovative and transformative technologies in protecting the sexual and reproductive health right of women and girls all over the world.
“When a woman is empowered with the right information to take charge of her own health, she is able to empower other women and the ripple effect is felt in families, communities and the society at large.
“We join the global drive to celebrate the progress made thus far in improving health outcomes for women and young girls.
“Edo State uses the opportunity provided by the 2023 International women’s day celebration to sensitize more women about their sexual and reproductive health using various digital media platforms to ensure that Edo women have access to fact- based information which they can use to make healthy decisions and lead a more productive life.”
Contributing, Anaweokhai Erason Clement of the International Centre for Health International Research Development (ICHIRD) said that in the midst of celebration, the woman should also remember that there are so many problems still pumping the progress of the development of a woman in Nigeria. Majority of these problems are caused by men who fixed today to celebrate women, and called on the federal, state and local governments for women inclusiveness in the administration of the affairs of the country.
“It is a thing of joy that the world has dedicated a day to celebrate the Nigeria woman, the Edo woman and the Benin woman. I thereafter congratulate the Nigeria women on this year’s International Women Day,” he said.
On her part, Mrs. Margaret Ekiuwa, Reproductive Health Officer of the Ikpoba Okhai local government council then advised women the need to engage themselves in family planning as the state government is looking at how its can use the modern day technology to improve the health of women in the society.