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2024 SWOP: TINUBU VOWS TO ENSURE ZERO MATERNAL DEATHS

April 25, 2024

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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has vowed to prioritise women’s health, assuring that his administration “must fulfill the promises to accelerate actions in Nigeria and ensure no woman dies giving birth”.

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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has vowed to prioritise women’s health, assuring that his administration “must fulfill the promises to accelerate actions in Nigeria and ensure no woman dies giving birth”.

Tinubu gave the assurance during the Launch and Unveiling of the 2024 State of the World Population (SWOP-2024) Report with the theme: “Interwoven Lives Threads of Hope: Ending Inequalities in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights” held at the Banquet Hall Presidential Villa, State House, Abuja.

Represented by the Coordinating Minister, Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Prof. Muhammed Ali Pate (CON), he said “meeting the aspirations of the population affected by these interwoven Threads, who are mostly women, girls, and young people, is a top priority in his administration”.

“This year’s theme, “Interwoven Lives Threads of Hope: Ending Inequalities in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights”, interestingly comes with a narrative that reminds us that, globally we are composed of 8 billion (and still counting) Threads of Hopes – 8 billion people interwoven, with each of the threads being very unique.

“It is of note that, Nigeria is among the 8 identified countries (the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and the United Republic of Tanzania), to account for more than half of the projected increase in the world population up to 2050.

“We must fulfill the promises to accelerate actions in Nigeria and ensure no woman dies giving birth.

“We must commit to ensuring that girls stay in school instead of becoming mothers at tender ages, provide access to quality health care and services everywhere – including accelerated access to family planning as fundamental for managing our population.

“Also, we must enforce implementation of laws to end gender-based violence and harmful practices like child/early/force marriage and female genital mutilation that are against women and girls and indirectly against true and enduring development of our nation and people,” he assured.

“The narrative in the paragraph above, are part of the concerns that informed my administration launching the “Renewed Hope Agenda”, particularly anchored on strengthening the four “D” principles: Development, Democracy, Demography and Diaspora, aimed integrating modern solutions into our policies.

“With a dynamic youthful population of 220 million, poised to become 450 million in 2050, with rich cultural diversity, we are determined to harness our demographic potential for development. I want to assure you that we are taking bold steps and are committed to addressing issues that affect our youth and reproductive health,’ he added.

Similarly, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Population Senator Mustapha Musa, said the year’s theme of the 2024 SWOP report “Interwoven Lives Threads of Hope: Ending Inequalities in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights”, is a pointer to the centrality of all to the development of the nation.

Musa therefore reiterated that, the committee will ensure that issues arising from the report will be given due attention.

“The Parliament of Nigeria deems the issue of population and development important, particularly as it relates to the well-being of women, young people and girls, which connects, with addressing the existing inequalities and ensuring that sexual and reproductive health and rights receive the deserved attention,” he said.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC) Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra, urged the federal government and relevant stakeholders to rethink strategies and investments that would be geared towards ensuring a prosperous and harmonious future for Nigeria and the entire African continent.

Kwarra noted the recent milestone of the world population reaching 8 billion, with Nigeria emerging as a pivotal contributor, poised to experience significant growth in the next two decades, underscoring the imperative of shifting the focus from sheer quantity to quality, emphasizing the need for strategic investments that will uplift communities and pave the way for sustainable development.

According to Kwarra, with Nigeria projected to play a central role in the global population landscape, the importance of innovative solutions and collaborative efforts to harness the demographic dividend effectively cannot be overemphasized, just as he stressed the benefits of investing in education, healthcare, and economic opportunities that empower individuals and families, thus steering the nation towards a path of prosperity.

He expressed gratitude to Dr. Natalia and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for choosing Nigeria as one of the two global points to unveil the SWOP-2024, noting that this shows the extent to which population and development issues in Nigeria capture global attention.

“As the world population reached 8 billion recently, Nigeria stood out as a major contributor and is among the countries for the anticipated increase for the next 20 years. This calls for a re-think on the best and smart investments to undertake that will transform our numbers from quantity into quality for a peaceful and prosperous nation and indeed the African continent,” he urged.

“The focus of the 2024 SWOP report “Interwoven Lives Threads of Hope: Ending Inequalities in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights”, aptly amplifies issues that matter most beyond the numbers, to emphasizing the people that make up the numbers,” he explained.

The Chairman appealed to UNFPA to relentlessly advocate for the conduct of the next census; support the implementation of ideas and interventions to address key issues raised in the 2024 SWOP; the implementation of the National Population Policy, which captured the commitments made in Nairobi (2019); sexual and reproductive health, particularly of the adolescent girls including prioritizing family planning, keeping girls in school.

He maintained that these, in turn, will enable Nigeria to manage its population and achieve the required shift in our population age structure for a demographic dividend (DD) to occur as well as in the implementation of the DD Roadmap.

He further requested Nigeria’s inclusion in the UNFPA’s SWEDD program, signaling the nation’s commitment to addressing demographic challenges and achieving sustainable development goals.

UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem, while presenting the 2024 SWOP Report’s Key Findings and Recommendations highlighted that since global measurements have been kept, two countries – India and Nigeria – have recorded the highest number of maternal deaths.

“The remarkable reduction in the number of women worldwide dying in childbirth – 34 percent since 2000 – is largely attributable to progress in those two countries. Nigeria’s achievement in reducing the maternal death rate by more than 11 percent between 2013 and 2018 must be applauded,” she said.

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