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Rights group canvass women’s right, empowerment in Nigeria

In an apparent bid to have a violence free society where woman can enjoy socio-cultural, economic and reproductive health and rights, and thus maintain dignity and protection of such rights, Generation Initiative for Women and Youth Network (GIWYN), a not-for-profit organisation in Nigeria has partnered with PATHS, a UK humanitarian development institution to organise workshop for women and youths in the country.

The crux of the event was to draw stakeholders’ attention on the need to look into the ‘world’ of women and youths as it concerns reproductive health and maternal security, in order to have the right to highest standard of living, safe reproductive health choices and quality health care through sustainable strategies.

According to the Chairperson and founder of GIWYN, Mrs. Sybil Nmezi, “This efforts started some years back when the organisation took up women and youth empowerment by educating them on their rights and interests to enable them develop their full potentials at every level,” adding that the organisation had also ensured women’s reproductive health which is of critical importance to maintaining a healthy society.

At a 2-day workshop, tagged “Using advocacy strategies to improve national guidelines that support healthy markets for misoprostol use for postpartum hemorrhage” funded by PATH, and had in attendance, different NGOs and community health workers from various states in the country such as Imo, Lagos, Edo, Nmezi observed that 25 percent of pregnant women in Nigeria were facing the problem of Postpartum Hemorrhage (PPH) from uterine agony which occurs after childbirth at the loss of more than 500ml blood flow within the first 24 hours. Unfortunately, this health condition might result in having severe blood flow which could be greater or equal to 1000ml that might result to the death of such patients after two hours if not controlled.

With the assistance of two international facilitating health development organisations, Women help Women and Gynuity Health Projects who pronounced the pilot project as “Using advocacy to strengthen markets and improve access to essential health products,” the participants were taught on how to prevent and treat the PPH in order to advocate using market strategies to improve availability of misoprostol in health care clinics, communities and other maternity centers.

The types of postpartum hemorrhage which is primary PPH, can occurs within 24hours after delivery; while secondary PPH occurs 24hours to 6weeks after delivery, underscoring the importance of the workshop which also enlightened the women them on the causes of PPH and how to manage them.

While expressing gratitude to GIWYN for the impressive turnout of participants at the workshop and for leading members of the organisation of national coalition for reproductive justice (NCRJ) to produce three case studies in some states which produced tools and evidence of need to improve market for expanding access to misoprostol for the community health services delivery channels and the low level of people orientation about this drug, one of the international facilitators, Mrs. Susan Davis, said government should ensure the provision of timely, available, affordable and quality assured misoprostol and urged that steps should be taken to quantify the amounts of misoprostol and adequate budget needed to ensure supply.

“The case study also shows how government policy is affecting the availability of the misoprostol and how to curb the challenges that Government should also strengthen the advocacy of misoprostol to the rural area”, she added.

One of the participants, Mrs. Tosin Adeyemi thanked the organisers of the programme for empowering them with necessary skills and health information needed to cope with maternal and reproductive health challenges, adding that government should subsidise the drug to enable its availability, affordability and accessibility.

“We employed government and ministries of health to review the revolving funding, signatory process and ensure adequate monitoring of the distribution to reach community women and service delivery channels (community health workers, midwives and pharmacies),” she appealed.

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