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Unplanned pregnancies: Consultant gynaecologist urges couples to seek advice



A physician, Dr Andrew Ekharogbon, has advised couples to consult gynaecologists for quality family planning services in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies and do away with abortion.

Ekharogbon, a senior medical officer at the Vicar Hope Foundation, gave this advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Umuahia on Monday.

Ekharogbon, who decried the alarming rate of unplanned pregnancies in the country, urged couples to have an agreement abinitio on how to plan their reproductive family.

He advsed that they should consult a gynaecologist, who would counsel them on the method that could be suitable for them.

“The problem in Nigeria is that we go for cheaper things. Most of these women go to a retired health worker or a non professional, who will do family planning for them.

“Later, this may become a problem and they will begin to face the consequences.

“But if you go to a well established hospital, see a gynaecologist, not just any doctor, he or she will counsel you on the effects of these family planning methods.

“You will also be told to report to the hospital if you notice anything outside this.

“Most of these women never report to their doctor or the hospital. So it is a big problem’’.

The physician called for sensitisation among men and women on family planning, lamenting that most of them did not even know what it is all about.

“They need to be sensitised because Nigeria is experiencing a population explosion.

“A lot of parents cannot provide for their children. So why are you producing more?, he queried.

NAN reports that Nigeria recorded 1.3 million unwanted pregnancies and stopped 735,000 unsafe abortions in 2018.

This figure, according to the gynaecologist, is released by the International Conference of Family Planning (ICFP) in Kigali, Rwanda.






Physician advocates legalising abortion, use of contraceptives to stem unwanted pregnancy



A resident doctor, Dr Obinna Aniagboso, says effective family planning methods would help reduce unwanted pregnancies and risks associated with unsafe abortions.

Aniagboso, an Obstetrics and Gynaecology expert at the Chukwuemeka Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), Amaku, Awka said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Awka on Thursday.

He also said that legalising abortion would help drastically reduce mortality, morbidity and infertility amongst women.

According to him, while awareness about family planning is about 80 per cent, its acceptance among the people is still as low as 20 per cent.

The gynaecologist blamed the poor embrace of contraceptives, which he said was the most effective planning method, on religious belief systems, ignorance and fear of side effects.

He said that withdrawal method and other natural method used by many people often failed and was contributing immensely to unwanted pregnancies, illegal abortion and population surge.

“Awareness on family planning is close to 80 per cent but acceptance is less than 20 per cent.

“Most patients shy away for religious reasons, ignorance and fear of side effects, including weight gain and irregular spotting.

“The use of contraceptives is very unpopular; only a few educated women do family planning, and funnily, lots of husbands advise their wives against it.

“We advocate the use of contraceptive as the most reliable method of spacing families and avoiding unplanned pregnancies.

“Some couples use withdrawal and natural methods that involve avoiding intercourse during the wife’s fertile period, but these methods are prone to mistakes,’’ he said.

Aniagboso told NAN that the issue of unwanted pregnancies had increased the demand for abortion by the sexually active female population.

He regretted that the stringent abortion law in Nigeria had denied these people expert services and left them at the mercy of quacks with its attendant danger that includes post-abortion sepsis, which could eventually cause infertility.

The medical practitioner said that in spite of the legal limitation and societal disapproval for abortion in Nigeria, people still sought and accessed the services.

He, therefore, advocated that the practice (abortion) be liberalised to help meet the prevailing social health challenges.

He said there was a high level of hypocrisy around abortion as most people, who opposed it in the open, access it behind the scene for their wives or mistresses.

According to him, people get abortion services because it is available and when it is done professionally, the rate of complications like infertility will reduce.

“The legality or illegality of abortion is a controversial issue and the subject of heated debate, court cases and torrid campaigns globally.

“Some medical professionals, and even some quacks that include chemists and pharmacists, offer abortion behind the scene.

“This is because the demand for abortion is high among young sexually active women.

“Many medical doctors avoid abortion mostly because of their personal principles and religious beliefs.’’

He said, however, that the prevailing opinion amongst public health professionals, especially in developed countries, was that abortion should be legalised so that girls and women could easily access these services from professionals instead of being left to die in the hands of quacks.

Legalising abortion will help drastically reduce the mortality and morbidity (including infertility) amongst our women who patronise quack abortionists, Aniagboso said.

He observed that it was difficult in Nigeria because of the strong influence of religion in our lives and politics.

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Expert urges govt to simplify port processes to reduce cost



Mr Bolaji Akinola, Spokesperson for Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) on Tuesday, called for the simplification of port processes to reduce cost.

Akinola made the call on an Instagram Live programme organised by Mrs Ezinne Azunnah of the Maritime TvNews.

The programme was themed: “Port Economics: Are Nigerian Ports Expensive’’?

According to him, there is no disputing the fact that the Nigerian ports are expensive but the point is what are the components of these expenses.

He pointed out that studies had shown that the cause of high cost of operations at the ports could be attributed to three major issues, cost of shipping, customs duty and trucking.

“Cost of shipping into Nigeria is one of the highest in the world. If it is compared to cost of shipment from China to Ghana, it is cheaper than from China to Nigeria using same vessel.

“Secondly is the Customs duty. Study indicates that 70 per cent of cost associated with our ports is charged by the Nigeria Customs Service and coupled with other ancillary agencies that post additional costs.

“Thirdly, it has to do with trucking. This is expensive in Nigeria and it is cheaper to bring container from China to Nigeria than to move that same container from Lagos to Kano.

“Trucking fee has gone up like five times by more than 500 per cent within the past two years and it is attributed to the function of the dilapidated infrastructure around the ports,” he said.

Akinola noted that as regards offloading processes, there were issues when the border was closed which was unplanned and resulted to surges in cargo and backlogs but that had been addressed.

He added that there was no shortage of handling equipment as terminal operators within that period had to bring in new equipment to tackle the situation.

He pointed out that the 100 per cent physical examination instead of the use of scanners by the Customs created backlogs and added cost to cargo owners.

“There were like three levels of manual inspection being carried out by Customs and this slowed the flow of trade and created backlogs which added cost to cargo owners.

“Eighty per cent of cargo coming into the ports are manually inspected right inside the ports. At the gate which is less than a kilometre, another set of Customs officials are there for inspection and immediately few kilometres away, another group is seen there.

“This manual inspection does not augur well for the ease of doing business being pushed by the government,” Akinola said.

He called for synergy between stakeholders, saying that in the entire system, only terminal operators’ charges were regulated by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), saying that the charges had not been reviewed for over 10 years.

He noted that as regards terminal operators, it was only the storage charges that was high and that was to make cargo owners to stop using the ports for storage.

Akinola said that for truckers, it was difficult to regulate them considering the difficulties they experienced due to the dilapidated road network.

He urged the Federal Government to fix the roads as it generated enough revenue from the maritime industry through Customs and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

He also urged government to develop means for cargo evacuation, saying that the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) should do the needful by connecting rail lines.

Akinola said that as regards empty containers, the NPA had come up with a policy urging shipping companies to develop holding bay outside the port area and ensure that containers were sent to those places.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)




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Reps want e-learning system instituted in education sector



The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Ministry of Education to urgently develop a national policy and framework for online education for schools at various levels.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the resolution was sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Aniekan Umanah (PDP-Cross River) at the plenary on Tuesday.
Moving the motion, Umanah said that the outbreak of coronavirus has altered the educational calendar globally.
Quoting UNESCO, he said that most governments around the world had temporarily closed schools in order to contain the spread of the virus.
The lawmaker said that the closures were impacting over 72 percent of the world student population.
“This has brought significant setback to academic endeavours, with far-reaching impacts on the more vulnerable and disadvantaged countries, such as Nigeria.
“The closure of schools, occasioned by COVID-19, has kept over 1.2 billion children out of the classroom and as a result, education has changed drastically, with the increase in the use of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms.
“This sudden event has caused a shift from the classrooms in our nation’s schools.
“Teachers and students have been forced to adjust and adapt to this unplanned rapid move to online teaching and learning, with no structure, training and equipment tools, and are faced with inadequate preparations,” he said.
According to the lawmaker, e-learning approach takes time and it is a gradual system of learning, adding that schools and colleges will have to develop modular structure for it.
He also said that a database and e-learning pattern, supported with efficient communication and internet, must be in place.
Umanah recalled that the Federal Ministry of Education had announced a free e-learning portal, intended to create access to online education across the nation as well as radio and television classrooms.
He said that this had remained mere intentions, as reports had indicated that it was not working and, therefore, not serving the desired need of closing the educational gaps.
Umanah attributed this to lack of instructional design and implementation, including lack of cognitive psychology tools to support e-learning.
He said that with the present situation, Nigeria’s educational system was lagging behind by not being functionally awake to the present reality of online education.
The lawmaker said that research had shown that the level of online learning and preparedness in Nigeria was about 10 percent.
He stressed the need for urgent steps to salvage the already battered educational system, which he said, had further been humbled and bruised by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The house urged other educational regulatory bodies across the country to incorporate online education and modular system into school curricular across the country.
In his ruling, the Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, mandated the House Committees on Basic and Tertiary Education to ensure compliance.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Number of CBS programme clients in Bauchi State decline over fear of COVID-19 infection



The Officer in-charge of Ningi Maternity Primary Healthcare Center (PHC), Mrs Laura Mohammed, says the number of clients accessing Child Birth Spacing (CBS) programme has declined for fear of COVID-19 infection.

Mohammed made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria at Ningi, Ningi Local Government Area of Bauch State on Tuesday.

“Before the pandemic, we recorded over 100 CBS clients monthly and no fewer than 14 clients weekly.

“At present, we attend to four or at most five clients a week because they are afraid of contracting coronavirus.

“We have devised a means of communicating to our clients the outcome of unplanned pregnancies which occur by missing out prescribed doses,” she said.

Mohammed said that the management of the primary healthcare center had engaged in a radio programme on CBS to sensitise the clients.

PHC staff are essential workers and they operate daily; this is another piece of information that we have packaged in our programme.

“We have introduced social distancing and also hand washing facilities in the maternity; those that still attend do observe this practice to prevent the spread of COVID 19,” she said.

Mohammed however disclosed that some of the oral contraceptives and injectable commodities for CBS were not in stock.

“We have requested for supply of CBS commodities but still we don’t have some of the oral contraceptives and injectables,” she said.

Also, the Chairperson, Ward Development  Committee (WDC) in the area, Hajiya Mamu Danlami, has said that house-to-house mobilisation had begun to ensure that CBS clients completed their doses.

“The pandemic period is an opportunity for couples to bond; we have commenced house to house mobilisation for clients to complete their doses,” she said.

Meanwhile, Jummai Ibrahim, a CBS client in Ningi, told NAN that at 41, she was at the risk age for an unplanned pregnancy, and added that accessing the services as at when due was paramount.

She said that with CBS, health of a mother and the baby was guaranteed during and after nursing.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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Ameliorate adverse effect of COVID-19 on social, economic life, Dons urges FG



Some university lecturers have called on the Federal Government to ameliorate the adverse effect of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the social and economic life of people in Nigeria.

The lecturers, mostly from the background of Sociology and Political Science, spoke at the second virtual public lecture organised by the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo,on Wednesday in Lagos.

The lecture was entitled: “Political Economy and the Environmental Context of Covid-19.”

Contributing, Prof. Olabisi Aina
of Sociology and Gender Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun, said that women and children would bear the highest burden of economy and social strain of the Coronavirus pandemic than other groups.

Aina said that currently, lots of women and children were experiencing increase in domestic violence, adding that lack of access to contraceptives, due to COVID-19, would lead to increase in unwanted pregnancies.

“While COVID-19 affects all segments of the society, the social effects of the pandemic is disproportionate across genders.

“The burden of cost of the pandemic leaves more economy and social strain on women and children, because from global indices, there has been 20 per cent surge in domestic violence.

“It has also been projected that because of the lockdown, women may be unable to access contraceptives, which leads to unplanned pregnancies and increase in population,” Aina said.

She urged the government to develop accurate data, covering gender perspectives in the country.

“It is important that we have an accurate citizens data and comprehensive data bank which will help to identify the vulnerable among us.

“It has become more visible that governments has not taken care of the vulnerable, especially elderly people, homeless and physically challenged individuals.

“These people may not have COVID-19, but they will bear the brunt of the virus, because many of them rely on the government palliatives to sustain themselves,” Aina said.

She said government at all levels needs to improve healthcare system, provide reproductive health and family planning services as well as promote health insurance.

Also, Dr Jameela Yakub, Economics lecturer at LASU, called on the governments to adopt zero interest financing model, grant tax waivers to households, businesses and spend more on agriculture, which could help to drive speedy economic recovery in Nigeria.

Yakub also said that economic impact of the pandemic would be severe in the coming days.

“Nearly half of jobs would be lost, global poverty would increase and more than half a billion people would be pushed into poverty, leading to a global recession.

“Many micro-entreprenuers will close shop, there will be decline in investment and increase in government expenditures.

” Prolonged COVID-19 and poor oil price will impact negatively on the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) allocation to State and Local Governments.

“Hence, institutions such as universities have to look inward to improve their internally generated revenue,” she said.

In his remarks, Prof. Ayo Omotayo, Director, Centre for Planning Studies, Lagos State University, said that some of the environmental factor implications caused by COVID-19 include population density and city morphology.

Others are intra/inter city movement, humidity, wind speed and built environmental mediated pathways.

Omotayo said that Lagos State, being the most hit state in Nigeria, could recover by defining urban system resilience, examining expected disasters, understanding the diffusion techniques and categorisation of areas on the basis of scientific criteria.

Similarly, Dr Mudasiru Suraj, an Associate Professor and former Head of Department, Political Science, LASU, explained that nations were currently enmeshed in competing interests, thereby limiting resources for COVID-19.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Lockdown: Promote family planning in COVID-19 sensitisation campaigns, NURHI urges govt.



The Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) has advised government at all levels to promote family planning in COVID-19 sensitisation campaigns in order to check unwanted pregnancies after the pandemic.

Mrs Stella Akinso and Dr Adeola Duduyemi, the state team leaders of NURHI for Oyo and Lagos States respectively, made the submission in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan.

The duo also said there was the need to make more family planning commodities available as there was a shortfall due to closure of manufacturing companies.

Akinso said unwanted pregnancies had currently become a major source of concern for those in reproductive health.

She, however, commended the government’s efforts in containing the spread of the virus, urging that attention should also focus on other areas of concern due to the lockdown.

“When people are locked down, they become idle and the next thing to do is to have sexual intercourse; this is so even among young people.

“We have heard how people are being molested and women have actually complained seriously about the frequency of sexual intercourse.

“The aftermath of COVID-19 will obviously lead to a lot of unplanned pregnancies,” she said.

Akinso said this called for integration of family planning messages into COVID-19 sensitisation campaigns so that people could begin to protect themselves.

She also noted that the lockdown, which had restricted movements in some parts of the country, had hindered the operation of family planning mobilisers.

“We are working with family planning coordinators in the various local government areas of Oyo State.

“We are actively talking with the Executive Director of the Primary Healthcare Board at the state level to help in mainstreaming the information on family planning into COVID-19.

“We are happy the Medical Women Association of Nigeria has designed posters and information that talk about family planning and COVID-19 to educate people.

“We are working with them and in a couple of days, we will begin to strategise and see how we will get these information to people,” she said.

Duduyemi, on her part , said more women were accessing family planning as attested to by providers because of the fear of pregnancy with the stay-at-home order.

She, however, said some other people were not even considering family planning.

“For instance, we know that couples are at home, husbands and wives have more time to spend together and have sex regularly now as well as young people too.

“There has been reduction in the supply chain of contraceptives, even as at now we have run out of stock for some commodities.

“For instance in Lagos State, we do mass distribution but since the month of March, we have not been able to do so due to the lockdown and even now the commodities we want to distribute are not sufficient,” she said.

Duduyemi said the scarcity may be due to the fact that some manufacturers of the commodities had diverted into production of other essential needs for tackling COVID-19.

“I was in touch with a government official in Lagos and I was asking how we can include family planning messages in the ongoing publicity on COVID-19.

“These include messages such as ‘Stay home, Stay safe, Avoid Unwanted Pregnancies and that  Family Planning Services are available in the nearest Primary Healthcare Centers.

” This is imperative so that at the end of the day, we will not have a more difficult situation at hand.

“For instance, we won’t have more unwanted pregnancies or unsafe abortions that can lead to maternal mortality and morbidity when the pandemic is over,” she said.

Duduyemi also called on the government to help ensure that commodities get to facilities so that people who need family planning services would not be turned back at the Primary Healthcare Centers.

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

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General news

Abba Kyari risked his life to make Nigeria great- Sen. Ayogu Eze



Sen. Ayogu Eze, former Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Enugu State says the late Abba Kyari  risked his life to make Nigeria great.

In a condolence message to President Muhammadu Buhari in Enugu on Sunday, Eze said that the former Chief of Staff to President Buhari was committed to Nigeria project till death.

“The late chief of staff was as a patriot, whose commitment to the Nigerian project was clear for all to see, including risking his life on the mission to make Nigeria great by improving power supply in the country, an undertaking that regrettably led to his death.

Eze said the his unplanned departure would leave a great vacuum on the governance of the country.

He prayed God to imbue the president with the presence of mind to endure the loss of his friend and staff and the sagacity to appoint a forward-looking, God-fearing and clear-headed Nigerian to take over from where Kyari left off.

Sen. Eze said that the torrent of positive tributes from friends, associates and members of the diplomatic corps in Nigeria had shown that the late chief of staff was indeed an unsung hero, who carried on his duty without seeking accolades or laurels.

He noted that his gaze was on the singular effort to deliver the president’s transformation agenda for Nigeria.

Praising his humility and stoicism even with so much power at his disposal, Eze urged other public servants to embrace the philosophy of servant leadership.

“Since what matters most in life is how one is perceived when the chips are down and one is no longer around to influence either the course of events or how one is perceived” he said.

The APC chieftain condoled the governor, the government and people of Borno State and the immediate family of the late chief of staff and prayed God to give them the strength to cope with this great national tragedy.

Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)


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Lockdown: Boost to family bonding – Catholic Woman Leader



The President, Catholic Women Organisation of Nigeria (CWO), Lagos chapter, Mrs Ruth Isibor, on Saturday, said that the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown, has had positive impacts on family bonding.
Isibor, Leader of CWO in St. Joachim and Anne parish, Ijegun, Lagos, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the stay-at-home order had created an enabling environment for families to interact better.
According to the woman leader, the unfortunate pandemic had forced most parents to spend quality time with their children.
She said that some parents working with corporate organisations and those running businesses of their own were usually engrossed with their jobs and how to fend for their families at the detriment of their togetherness and bonding.
“Though we are not happy with the Coronavirus pandemic, on the contrary however, it has been of immense benefit, particularly within the family circle.
“Parents, who used to be very busy have now been homely to their children, as they all stay together in the house.
“The nature of activities in Lagos is indeed too demanding, but with this lockdown, there are now better interactions among family members.
“It has allowed the children to see and know their parents better, especially the hitherto busy fathers.
“Another major thing is that women have the opportunity to stay closely to their husbands, particularly those who used to leave very early to work and come back late.
“Most women now enjoy their husbands to the fullest, while others are renewing their marriage vows and having adequate time to discuss outstanding issues and plans to move their families forward.
According to her, some women are making the best use of the lockdown as an opportunity to enter the kitchen, prepare meals for their households as against the usual practice of using housemaids to do all these things.
“Some women used to be so busy that they barely have time to cook for their husbands and children because the maids were there, and this had caused serious problems in some marriages,” she added.
Isibor advised women to understand the situation on ground by being good home managers and make their homes comfortable for their households.
She then urged those who were in the habit of picking on common issues in the house or being aggressive to learn to take things easy, adding that the current lockdown would bring positive changes to many families.
Also speaking, Mrs Amaka Ukwedike, a civil servant, described the ongoing stay-at-home as tasking, saying that women were mostly affected, as their households now ate more than before.
“An idle mind seeks to eat more food and this is very demanding for many women, because we have to cook several times and in more quantity,” she said.
Ukwedike also noted that the demand for sex had also been on the increase, as most men now spent more time with their wives at home.
The effect of this, according to her, may be the likelihood of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies after the Coronavirus lockdown.

Edited By: Josephine Obute and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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COVID-19 Lockdown: Nigerian women risk high rate of rape, unwanted pregnancies – Family health expert



Ms. Ajani Oluwatobi, a family health expert, says unless adequate measures are put in place, the lockdown occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic will expose Nigerian women to high risk of rape and unwanted pregnancies.

Oluwatobi made the assertion in a statement she signed and issued to newsmen on Tuesday in Asaba.

She is the Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) Youth Focal Point, Nigeria for Development Communications (DevComs) Network and Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI II).

The family health expert said that the lockdown would expose the women, particularly the younger ones and those within reproductive age, to danger by aggressive men who currently were idle.

According to her, Nigerians should be concerned about high rate of conception and unplanned pregnancy at this time of lockdown against the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in the country.

“Though, it might seem that Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) should be the least of our worries during this COVID-19 outbreak, however, learning from the Ebola experience, such situations could increase the risk of the vulnerable population.

“Such situations often result in internally displaced persons, women and girls being exposed to rape, teenage pregnancy, unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, gender-based violence and domestic violence.

“The coronavirus pandemic is currently affecting the global economy and basically disrupting the world order, and as the days go by, we have continually seen how the unexpected situation affects every aspect of our lives.

“But the sure question is who thinks about sexual activities when people are getting sick and some are dying from COVID-19,” she stated.

Oluwatob said that the social distancing and the lockdown directives of government were reasonable but not without their negative consequences.

According to her, the stay-at-home order which involves closing down offices, businesses, schools, markets and others, creates room for idleness.

“It makes a lot of people including young people very idle. Consequently, adolescent girls and vulnerable women end up in various compromising situations.

“For instance, the young girl that finds school as a safe space is back in the house with that abusive uncle, neighbor or stepfather.

“That woman who intentionally spends most of her time selling in the market to avoid engaging in sexual activities with her husband especially for fear of pregnancy is now stuck with him at home.

“Young people in relationships are more likely to engage in consensual sexual activities this period.

“We should be concerned about high rate of conception and in turn unplanned pregnancies at this period,” she said.

Oluwatobi urged all stakeholders particularly the media to create the awareness and ensure people took the right options as regards their sexual and reproductive life during the period.

“This serves as a reminder to us that social distancing or the stay- at- home policy is not a license to perpetuate gender-based violence, rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and domestic violence.

“Also, it is crucial that we all take responsibilities for our sexual needs during this time.

“Married and co-habiting couples who are not on a long-acting contraceptive and family planning method should remember to stock up condoms.

“Young people should endeavor to abstain at this time and if they can’t get handy condoms and emergency contraceptives.

“The reality is that this is not a good time to have unplanned pregnancies because the pressure of the pandemic on the health system will affect and disrupt routine Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services,” she said.

Oluwatobi listed such SRH services as family planning, ante-natal services, post-abortion care services, immunisation services, among other. .

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Ejike Obeta

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