By: Nkechi Pius/South-East
A Member, Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Hon Oliver Osi has expressed worrisome over the standstill on Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) services in the state especially the women in rural areas and call for an urgent step to correct the imbalance.
Hon Osi, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Health stated this in Abakaliki at a one day training for media practitioners organised by a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) ‘Coalition for Eastern’ in collaboration with CIRDDOC with support from Amplified Change Initiative.
He noted that women do not access health care facilities and information as such there is high increasing rate of teenage Pregnant, pointing out that the school age pregnancy is challenging because it exposes the children to STDs and appeal to Journalists in the state to create more awareness for the public.
“Our people don’t have access to to good health care because they patronize quacks . Infant mortality rate is still on the increase but I am believing that government will pass the NHIS bill to create more health access for the people and mortality rate will be reduced” he said.
In her remarks, the State Co-ordinator of CENGOS, Mrs. Nancy Oko-Onya stressed the need for the Rights of the women to be protected in the society.
She explained that CENGOs as an organization, advocates for good governance, women’s rights as well as girl child education and right to quality reproductive health.
Mrs. Oko Onya emphasized that violence against women should not be over looked by the media but to broadcast it to checkmate its frequent occurrences in society just as CENTOs try to bridge the gap with the government, private sector in providing services to the society.
An Obstetrics Gynecologist Dr. Agboeze Joseph said Ebonyi state has the highest percentage of women circumcision in South East zone of the Country.
Meanwhile, in a paper presentation titled: “Overview of Reproductive Health: ‘Women Sexual and Reproductive Rights’, the gynecologist described reproductive health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely in the absence of disease or disorder of the reproductive process.
He listed the traditional harmful practices to include FGM/C, early marriage, widowhood rites and widows right infringement and female disinheritance as some of the gender based violence inherent in the society.
“There are 20 million induced abortions occurrences annually which caused the death of about 80,000 women in developing nation” Dr. Joseph noted.
The General Manager of Radio Nigeria Unity Fm Abakaliki, Ogbuefi Rex Eze urged journalists to avoid sensationalism of stories on gender based violence in their reportage.
He also advised media practitioners to be thorough in their investigation before publishing their stories and called for protection of journalists on gender violence reportage while urging the media practitioners to be security conscious in reporting the cases.
Others who spoke at the event including the state chairman Nigeria union of journalists Mrs veronica Oshim and the chairperson Nigeria women journalists Ebonyi state chapter Mrs Ozo Fortunate, called for more training for men on gender based violence and sexual reproductive health so that they will become the advocates pointing that women are not allowed to take decision family planning and other issues that concern women.