By Momodou Jarju
The United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) Country Representative Kunle Adeniyi, has told members of the National Assembly Select Committee on Health, Women, Children and Disaster Relief that as a UN Agency, no woman should be forced to practice family planning or be prevented from it.
The UNFPA Country Representative made the remarks on Tuesday Noviember 5th 2019 at the National Assembly in Banjul.
The Chairperson on the NA Select Committee on Health Ousman Sillah, said Mr. Adeniyi and his team were invited to share their mandate in the country, their areas of intervention and their expectations from Government as their partner, with the NA Select Committee in particular.
The UNFPA has been in the country for over four decades and is present in over 150 countries across the globe.
“Our belief is that no woman should be forced to practice family planning but in the same vein, no woman should as well be prevented from practicing it,” he said
Mr. Adeniyi said people know the issues which mirror one another, saying they majorly deal with cultural issues some of which are difficult to break.
“The number of children and when and how many children a woman should have, should be her own informed choice,” he said.
Speaking further, Adeniyi said their strategic plan for 2018-2021 is on three transformative results which contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights and reduction of maternal mortality.
The three he said are:
- a) zero maternal deaths;
- b) zero unmet need for family planning, and
- c) zero gender based violence and harmful practices towards girls.
The idea, Adeniyi said, is to have zeros in the aforementioned areas which is geared towards the attainment of the SDGs; that in 1990 the Gambia had over 1,000 women who died out of 100, 000 live births which is a massive and huge loss of lives; that generally people agree that women do not have to die during childbirth.
On their mandate, Adeniyi said the work of UNFPA is to deliver where every pregnancy is wanted, make every childbirth safe, and make every young person realize the fulfillment of their potential; that it is the responsibility of Government to make sure that citizens have the means to safe and healthy pregnancies.
“Every child birth is safe with maternal health and maternal mortality. As I said a year ago, so many women die while trying to give birth the world over,” he said.
He said their first output on sexual and reproductive health is to strengthen the enabling environment, increase demand for supply of modern contraceptives and offer improved quality family planning services free of coercion, discrimination and violence.