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Increase Public Education On Family Planning To Empower African Women — Samira Bawumia   
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The wife of the Vice-President, Mrs Samira Bawumia, has underscored the need for Africa to increase public education on the logic of family planning to help empower women and accelerate socio-economic development.

“A woman who is empowered to make a choice is a woman who is empowered to be successful,” she said.

She said using the closure of the Sustainable Development Goals, which is 2030, as the timeline to deliver the sexual reproductive health needs of Africa, particularly family planning, was too long for Africa.

“We have to think about doing it now.”

Gala night

Speaking at a UNFPA Gala night on Family Planning in Accra, Mrs Bawumia expressed worry about how women were more often left to handle issues of family planning describing it as central to women's health.

The gala was on the sidelines of the annual continental meeting by the West and Central African Regional Office (WACRO) of the UNFPA, hosted by Ghana, to take stock of its operations and performance in the previous year and plan for the ensuing year.

According to her, it was estimated that about only 33 per cent of Africans planned their families.
“This situation does not only affect individual resources and well-being but affected national, continental and global socio-economic development as the lack of family planning would produce more people than the world could cater for,” she said.

On maternal deaths, Mrs Bawumia said, “It’s unacceptable why expectant women on our continent should be hundred times more likely to die than in other parts of the world and the time to end all preventable maternal, neonatal and child deaths is now,” she said.

Mrs Bawumia said access s to safe, voluntary family planning is a human right and described family planning as central to gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Demographic dividend

Mr Mabingue Ngom, West and Central African Regional Director of the UNFPA, stressed that demographic dividend was one of the major tools to enhancing development in Africa.

He said the demographic dividend was so important to the West and Central African Region because nearly two-thirds of its population was under 24 years old, adding that “but it can only be harnessed by making strategic investments and policy interventions to allow parents to plan families better and to improve education, skills development, health systems, economic reforms, job creation, good governance and accountability.”

“We must put young people first, if we are to harness the demographic dividend, build resilience and transform our region to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Africa we want,” he said.

For his part, the UNFPA Country Director, Mr Niyi Ojuolape, said with consolidated collaboration among stakeholders Africa provides the quality of life its population deserves.

He said the UNFPA would continue to provide global leadership in increasing access to family planning.

Young people

The Chief, Commodity Security Branch, Technical Division, UNFPA, Dr Gifty Addico, said young people had unmet needs for contraceptives and underscored the need for more education and provision for Africa to meet that need.

She said young people were the majority of the population in Africa and they should have access to the tools they needed to protect their health, including access to contraception, and the full array of reproductive healthcare services and information.
Source: Daily Graphic

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