The Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Dr. BabatundeOsotimehin, has called on the international community to redouble efforts to protect the health and rights of women and girls globally.
“By prioritizing health, rights and the full participation of women, adolescent girls and young people in public life, we increase our prospects for a more just, stable and peaceful world”, Dr. Osotimehin urged.
In a statement delivered in New York Saturday, July 11th, to mark World Population Day, he said, women and girls face particular threats as a result of the absence of health and other essential services they need.
This year’s World Population Day was celebrated on the theme, “Vulnerable Populations in Emergencies”.
Dr. Osotimehin, who is also Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, said women and adolescent girls also face much greater risk of abuse, sexual exploitation, violence and forced marriage during conflicts and natural disasters.
“In addition”, he noted, “many women who survive a crisis become heads of household, with sole responsibility of caring for their children. They often have to overcome increase obstacles to provide health and care for their children, the sick, the injured and the early, and bear the heaviest burden of relief and reconstruction. As result, they may neglect their own needs as they care for others.”
The UNFPA boss reminded that this is why the theme for the 2015’s World Population Day, “Vulnerable Populations in Emergencies”, is intended to highlight the special needs of women and adolescent girls during conflicts and humanitarian crisis.
He said one of the priorities of UNFPA is to empower and safeguard the well-being of women, adolescent girls, and young people and address their specific needs and concerns, adding, “We work closely with governments, the United Nations System, local partners and others on disaster preparedness to ensure that reproductive health is integrated into emergency response.”
He said UNFPA deploys hygiene kits, obstetric and contraceptive supplies, trained personnel and other support to vulnerable populations, as well as works to ensure the needs of women, adolescent girls and young people are served thru both an emergency and the reconstruction phase.
“Our aim is to ensure that women’s and adolescent girls’ right to sexual and reproductive health is protected and their safety is ensured”, Dr. Osotimehin explained.