The United NationsFund for Population Activities or UNFPA has launched the 2015 State of the World Population Report in Monrovia.
According to UNFPA, the report is based on survey conducted across countries of the world,highlighting difficulties women and girls are faced with in societies.
This year’s State of the World Population is on the theme “Shelter from the Storm.” It stresses that sexual and reproductive health services are critical to the health and survival of women and adolescent girls, noting that three- fifths of maternal deaths today occur in countries that are considered fragile because of conflict or disaster, while pregnancy and childbirth kill about 507 women everyday in these settings.
Addressing officials of government, members of the Diplomatic Corps, African Union representatives and other stakeholders over the weekend during the official launch at the RLJ Resort along the Robertsfield highway in Margibi County, the country director for UNFPA in Liberia, Mr. OluremiSogunro,said more than 100 million people in the world are in need of humanitarian assistance more than at any time since the end of World War II.
He said among those displaced by conflict or uprooted by disaster are tens of millions of women and adolescent girls, adding that this report is a call to action to meet their needs and ensure their rights intheir respective societies.
Mr. Sogunro narrated while remarkable progress has been made during the past decade to protect the health and rights of women and adolescent girls in humanitarian setting, the “growth in need has outstripped the growth in funding services.”
The UNFPA country director noted that these services are of critical importance, especially for very young adolescent girls, who are the most vulnerable and least able to confront the many challenges they face even in stable times.
“Under normal circumstances in some developing countries, a 10-year-old girl may be married off against her will, trafficked, separated from her family and all social support and have limited access to education, health or opportunities to better living condition”.
Mr. Sogunro added that when crisis strikes, these risks multiply and so these girls’ vulnerabilities go from bad to worst. He added that every 10-year-old girl no matter where she is has the right to health, dignity and safety, recalling that 179 governments pledged in 1994 at the international conference on population development to uphold that right in any and every situation, saying, abandoning her or her community, or her country is not an option.“We a responsibility to protect human rights and abide by international law; as global citizens we have a duty to provide support and solidarity.”
Meanwhile, giving an overview of the report, a staff of the UNFPA, Mr. Brain Kironde,said it focuses mainly on four key areas, which include Risks, Response, Resilience, and Moving forward, adding that women and girls are mostly affected than their male counterparts something, which undermine their ability to grow up in their various societies and also undermine their chances of having better living condition.
He told participants at the launch the lack of gender inclusion by various authorities signifies that women and girls are at risks in their respective communities. For her part, the chief Launcher of the report,Madam Wilhelmina Jallah from Hope for Women International, said the document does not only target women and girls, but people that need birth control, saying “We need to find shelter from storm for our various targets; we need to transform our society where women and adolescent girls can have a safe environment.”
Madam Jallah stressed that not just to save the shelter, but also to avoid the storm instead of focusing on shelter, because once we put measure in place that will avoid the storm from coming, there is no need to focus on shelter anymore.”
By Lewis S. Teh