Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 15 May 2016 | 1,654 times
Wife of the Senate President, Toyin Saraki, has called on the Federal Government through its relevant agencies to ensure the protection of women and girls in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps against gender based violence.
Mrs Saraki, who is also the President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), according to a statement from WBFA, spoke at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on the fundamental rights of displaced women and girls in Nigeria.
At the event organised by CSIS Africa Programme in Washington DC, USA, Mrs Saraki noted that gender-based violence has plagued Nigeria and there is a desperate need for the nation's policymakers and the international community to invest in protecting the women and girls in the camps.
She further urged the government to explore assistance for psycho-social counseling of displaced persons largely situated in the Northeast. According to her, “Thousands of girls and women have been victims of violence and kidnappings by Boko Haram and they need the protection and security.”
She further said there is urgent need for the Federal Government and international organisations to work together and reduce gender-based violence in the camps.
She explained that there needs to be a register of all missing persons nationally, while providing health integrated certifiable identities to displaced persons, to aid restoration of their constitutional human and citizenship rights.
She commended the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for its ongoing efforts to ensure food security and safety for all in the camps.
“As a mother, it pains me to acknowledge that someone else’s daughter is not as safe as mine. I believe in equality and equity for all lives, and I believe that no matter your personal circumstance or location, you should be able to live a safe and secure life. I hope that Nigeria can move forward and improve the status of our women and ensure their safety,” Mrs Saraki said.
Meanwhile, Wellbeing Foundation Africa has launched its MamaCare Antenatal Education Programme at the Ikeja Military Cantonment of Lagos.
According to the statement, MamaCare Antenatal Education Program provides education for expectant parents across a range of subjects, including the birthing process, prenatal nutrition, attending to the many needs of an infant.
With a class of over 30 expectant parents spanning their first, second, and third trimesters, the participants learned about the symptoms, risks, treatments, and preventative measures in regards to anemia in pregnancy.
It could be recalled that Ikeja Military Cantonment is the most recent health provider to bring on the fortnightly MamaCare Antenatal Education Classes, which have already been established at both Medicross Hospital and St Raphael Hospital in Lagos, as well as in Kwara State Specialist Hospital Ilorin, Kwara Civil State Service Hospital Ilorin, and Aikjobi Cottage Hospital Ilorin.
MamaCare was designed and implemented in alignment with global standards of health by Mrs. Saraki.
“Education is the strongest safeguard for expectant mothers and children,” Mrs. Saraki said. “These programmes empower women to make informed decisions in the interests of both herself and her child.”
During a spirited question and answer session which followed the lecture, students raised questions about a range of subjects, including prenatal nutrition, identification and treatment of minor disorders in pregnancy, and the necessity of regular medical examinations.
“To share a learning space with so many women proactively seeking wisdom to protect both themselves and their children is a humbling thing,” said Mrs Saraki.
Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s MamaCare Antenatal Education Programs will soon expand to Abuja, with intention to scale across West Africa.
•Photo shows Toyin Saraki.
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