Lagos - Women and girls in north-east Nigeria face a severe crisis and struggle to cope with malnutrition, sexual violence and exploitation, trauma, high rates of maternal death and other risks to their health and well-being.
This is according to findings by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Monday.
The agency thus appealed for increased assistance to the over 1 million civilians, rescued from the Boko Haram sect, in need of sexual and reproductive health services.
The UN agency noted of the 7 million affected people in north-east Nigeria, about 1,75 million were women and girls of childbearing age.
These include the 566 rescued women and children handed over to the Borno State government.
“Meeting their urgent needs demands a strengthened response,” said UNFPA Executive Director, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin.
Since the beginning of this year, the Nigerian military has helped rescue more than 800 000 persons, most of whom have been deprived of all forms of humanitarian aid for years and need urgent life-saving support.
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For 2016, UNFPA has received 40 percent of the $11 million it needs for north-east Nigeria, and is appealing to the donor community to increase support to meet the urgent needs.
Assessments supported by the United Nations indicate that a high proportion of women and girls in north-east Nigeria have suffered different forms of gender-based violence, including sexual violence.
Meeting their medical, psychosocial and other needs is a major undertaking that needs intensified support.
UNFPA is working with partners to scale up its response, especially in Borno State, home of 70 per cent of displaced persons. The goal is to expand services for sexual and reproductive health and for preventing and tackling gender-based violence, so as to reach 4.5 million affected people.
So far in 2015 and 2016, UNFPA has reached 3,2 million people with information and services for sexual and reproductive health, and against gender-based violence, in areas affected by Boko Haram.
Some 336 health personnel have been trained in emergency reproductive health care, 108 trained in the clinical management of rape, 88 000 pregnant women given clean delivery kits.
- CAJ News