The UN Population Fund has restated its commitment to support government at all levels to end gender-based violence and other harmful practices to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
The acting country representative of the Fund, Dr. Eugene Kongnyuy, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Abuja.
Kongnyuy noted that in the past 50 years of UNFPA’s existence, the agency had worked assiduously to improve coordination, prevention and response to gender-based violence such as female genital mutilation and cutting among others.
He said initially, the approach was to provide medical services for the women who had been through traumas such as rape and other forms of violence.
“A woman who was raped needs HIV screening, to ascertain status and prevent HIV infection, something to prevent pregnancy and other reproductive health interventions.
“UNFPA also realised that gender-based violence exposes women to mental trauma, therefore the package keeps increasing.
“Therefore, we increase the package from just physical health to include mental health, to take care psycho-social aspects of health,’’ he said.
The country representative explained that UNFPA also realised that even after psycho-social care, some women, like those who have fistula, were rejected by their communities.
He said fistula was another form of violence against women.
He added that UNFPA saw some women in Maiduguri who took refuge at the hospital for between about six years and 11 years because they didn’t have where to go.
“UNFPA added livelihood packages to enable the women contribute positively to their communities.
“The livelihood package includes vocational training and skills acquisition schemes such as tailoring and soap making, among others.
“Results show that when these women went back they were no longer rejected or called names in their communities.
“The women (beneficiaries) are now called by what they produce; the scheme changed everything for these women,’’ Kongnyuy said.
NAN reports that UNFPA is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019 and the 25th anniversary of the International Conference for Population Development in July 2019.
In commemoration of the anniversaries, the agency also pledges its commitment to ensure that every birth is safe, every pregnancy is wanted and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.