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We don't promote abortion: UNFPA Boss

28 May 2015, 08:32

Abuja - Professor Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), said on Wednesday that the agency do not promote abortion but encourages reproductive health.

Osetimehin said this while briefing newsmen in Abuja on the Fund’s response to Nigeria’s humanitarian crisis and supports to the violated women and girls.

He also explained that UNFPA offers psycho-social counselling to internally displaced persons, including girls and women, but certainly not abortion.

According to him, the Fund does not promote abortion as a method of family planning nor does it have any abortion related interventions in Nigeria.

"UNFPA supports voluntary family planning so that men and women can determine the number of their children, timing and spacing of their children as well as unwanted pregnancies.

"It is their human rights to do so and to have the means to exercise that right, this helps reduce recourse to abortion."

He said that all UNFPA-supported interventions are approved, owned and implemented in Nigeria, stressing that it also respects the country’s sovereignty, laws and priorities.

He said the UNFPA had been supporting Nigeria and other stakeholders under the coordination of National Emergency Management Agency for monitoring and distribution of humanitarian supplies to the affected states.

He said the Fund is committed to ensuring that women deliver babies safely.

Also read: UN decries Boko Haram's sexual abuse of captives

"The women and girls can maintain their health, dignity, right and self-worth even in most challenging situations.

"UNFPA focuses on supporting women and girls to restore their lives as quickly as possible and also help them to fulfil their potential and once again resume productive lives," said Osotimehin

According to him, UNFPA supports humanitarian work in six northern states of Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Adamawa, Kaduna and Benue.

Osotimehin said in 2014 alone the Fund had supported more than 16,000 safe deliveries in the North East region.

He added that it supports the provision of modern family planning services to 2,092 persons, 588 women and couple and also averted 2,383 maternal deaths.

The executive director pointed out that it also supported the provision of 1,045 free fistula surgeries with 97 per cent success rate.

Also speaking on phone, the Borno Commissioner for Health, Dr Salma Kolo, denied that abortion was going on in the IDPs camps.

"No abortion is going on for the rescued girls and women in Borno IDPs camps.

"We are operating a centre where we provide a psycho-social counselling and rehabilitation for the rescued women and girls within the camp."

The Permanent Secretary of the Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Haruna Haman, acknowledged the technical support the state has been enjoying from UNFPA.

Haman called for a sustained partnership to cushion the lives of victims of crises.



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