• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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World Health Day: UNFPA restates commitment to quality health system

Emergency healthcare in Nigeria- creating a workable system out of chaos

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has reaffirmed its commitment to support and provide a quality global health system for increased access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights for women.

Natalie Kanem, executive director, UNFPA, said this in a statement in Abuja, to commemorate World Health Day with the theme: “Health for All.”

Kanem asserted the role of UNFPA in engendering inclusive and qualitative healthcare services.

“Around the world, UNFPA is supporting health systems to provide quality sexual and reproductive health services that reach every person

The Executive Director who reiterated the imperatives of preventing maternal mortality said investing in sexual and reproductive health was an essential investment in sustainable development.

Kanem explained that it was necessary to deliver a world where every woman, girl and young person could live up to their full potential.

According to her, such investments not only save and improve lives but also generate economic gains too.

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She added: “By UNFPA’s calculation, investing a single dollar in ending preventable maternal deaths and the unmet need for family planning by 2030 can yield economic benefits of up to $8.40 by 2050.”

Kanem called on all to use the occasion of World Health Day to uphold the right of all people to reach the highest possible standard of health.

“Let us join forces to expand access to sexual and reproductive health, with rights and choices as the path to a more equal, prosperous and sustainable future.”

She regretted the alarming rate of maternal mortality, blaming it on the failure of the health system and misplacement of priorities.

“Every two minutes, a woman dies giving birth. As the clock counts down another year, 287,000 more women will meet the same tragic fate.

“Most of these deaths are preventable. They are not inevitable. They happen because healthcare systems routinely fail women and girls.

“Women die giving birth because, for too many, health services are unavailable, inaccessible, unaffordable or offer poor quality care.”

She said that women seeking contraception faced similar barriers of not accessing either quality health, sexual and reproductive health services or not at all.

Kanem added: “An estimated 257 million women who want to avoid pregnancy are not using safe and modern methods.”

Kanem expressed concern over the decline in global progress in reducing maternal deaths caused by COVID-19 and wrong decisions that deprioritise and cut funds for essential lifesaving health services.

“One reason may be that, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic, decisions were made to deprioritise and cut funds for essential, life-saving sexual and reproductive health services.

“Gender discrimination often drives such decisions, treating the health and well-being of women and girls as less important than other goals.”

She explained that as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, countries around the world had committed to achieving universal health coverage and universal access to sexual and reproductive health.

“Even so, in most countries, universal health coverage benefits packages exclude many essential sexual and reproductive health interventions.

This includes measures related to reproductive cancers and gender-based violence prevention and response.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that April 7 is set aside annually for commemoration of World Health Day.