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UN Report Ranks Nigeria Third in Countries with Highest Maternal Deaths

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UN Report Ranks Nigeria Third in Countries with Highest Maternal Deaths

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Ulla Mueller, the Country Representative of the UN Population Fund in Nigeria (UNFPA Nigeria), says women and girls face obstacles and systemic barriers that limit their potential.

The country representative said discrimination and gender-based violence limit access to healthcare and education, while unequal economic opportunities impede women and girls’ progress.

She said, “We continue to live in a world replete with gender inequality, and we are witnessing renewed attacks on women’s rights, including basic healthcare services, particularly s3xual and reproductive health.

“Complications associated with pregnancy and labour continue to be the leading cause of maternal mortality. Nigeria has the third highest maternal mortality rate in the world.’’

Ms Mueller made this known in a statement by the fund’s spokesperson, Kori Habib, in Abuja on Wednesday, ahead of the 2023 World Population Day.

She explained that it is essential that the rights of all individuals are thoroughly realised to maximise the opportunities inherent in the world’s population growth.

She said, “The consideration of women’s rights and, in particular, s3xual and reproductive health and choices, the right to decide if, when and how many children we want is of utmost importance.

“We must ensure that everyone has the right to make decisions regarding their reproductive health. Access to family planning information and services are a human right and a prerequisite for a sustainable future for all people.

“To unleash the power of gender equality, we need to eliminate the obstacles that prevent women and girls from reaching their full potential.”

Ms Mueller also said detrimental social norms, stereotypes and unequal power dynamics that perpetuate discrimination and limit women and girls’ potential must also be addressed.

The UNFPA boss emphasised that when women and girls are empowered, they become change agents, drive economic development, foster innovation, and create just and inclusive societies.

She said, “Education is crucial in releasing the potential of women and children, and as such, we must ensure that every girl has access to quality education that equips her with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to pursue her ambitions.”

World Population Day is an annual global observance marked on July 11 to raise awareness about global population issues and emphasise the significance of sustainable development.

The theme for 2023 is “Unleashing the Power of Gender Equality: Uplifting the Voice of Women and Girls to Unlock a World’s Infinite Possibilities.’’

This article was updated 3 months ago

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