By Nsan Ndoma-Neji, Calabar
No fewer that one million, five hundred additional pregnancies in Nigeria usually remained unattended to.
National Population Commission, NPC, Chairman, Nasir Kwarra, made the assertion while interacting with jjournalists in Calabar yesterday, at the end of activity to mark the World Population Day.
Kwarra, who spoke on the theme: “Rights and Choices Are the Answers: Whether Baby Boom or Burst, the Solution Lies in Prioritizing the Reproductive Health and Health and Rights of All the People,” stressed that from past evidence, most of these women with unattended pregnancies in the continent of Africa are predominantly Nigerians.
Represented by a director in the Commission, Mr. Eteng Bassey, Kwarra, while speaking on the challenges faced by women/girls during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and afterwards, averred that full blown consequence of the pandemic manifested when affected countries and regions applied the lockdown measures to contain and curtail the spread.
The NPC chairman stated that globally, a 10 per cent decline in use of short-and long- acting reversible contraceptive could result in 48.5 million additional women with unmet need for modern contraceptive and 15.4 million additional unattended pregnancies.
He said, “The COVID-19 pandemic lockdown posed unabated challenge that worsened the situation of women and girls, especially those in humanitarian and fragile context, where health and social systems were already weak.”
Drawing inferences from the analytical illustration and comment by Guttmacher Institute in 2020 on the Potential Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Sexual and Reproductive Health in 132 low- and middle-income countries, the chairman made advocacy for all hands to be on deck in order that the pandemic can be tamed.
He added, “Arising from disruptions of reproductive health and family planning services and chains of activities and in-access, due to restrictions of movement and fear of contacting the virus, world wide, 10 per cent decline in service coverage of essential ppregnancy-related and newborn card could lead to 1,745,000 additional women experiencing major obstetric complications.”
He stated that 28,000 additional maternal deaths, with 2,591,000 additional newborns experiencing major complications occurred, with that 168,000 additional newborn deaths.
He further stressed that Africa and Nigeria remained at the receiving end.