NIGERIA COMMEMORATES 2012 WORLD POPULATION DAY
The World Population Day is commemorated globally every year on July 11 to draw attention to some of the negative consequences of rapid population growth and related issues. Most of these consequences have implications for the health and welfare of mankind, most vulnerable of who are women, children and the youths. To articulate these issues, a press conference was held at the Transcorp Hotel, Abuja on Monday July 9, 2012 to herald the activities marking the Day.
The press conference was strategic to kick-start the event as disseminator of information. With this year’s theme as ‘Universal Access to Reproductive Health Services’ the press was sensitized on the dismal status of Reproductive Health in Nigeria and the need for stakeholders and policy makers to strengthen the family planning programme and Reproductive Health Services. In his briefing, the Chairman of National Population Commission, Eze Festus Odimegwu, who was represented by the NPC Commissioner representing the Federal Capital Territory, Alhaji Sani Sulaiman, said, investments in reproductive health would enhance the health status of our women who constitutes almost half of Nigeria’s working population. This according to him would go a long to boost productivity and economic growth.
The media was therefore urged to draw the attention of the general public to the need to embrace family planning as a panacea for close birth intervals and frequency of child birth. This accounts for the high maternal mortality rates in Nigeria.
The Round Table Discussion which immediately followed the press conference enabled stakeholders to rub minds on promoting attitudes that are consistent with managing the population for sustainable development and healthy reproductive behavior.
The roundtable discussants were the Director-General of the National Population Commission, Jamin Dora Zubema, who represented the Chairman, Eze Festus Odimegwu, the UNFPA Country Representative and OIC, Dr. Eusebe Hounsokou, the Executive Directors of Society for Family Health, Sir Bright Ekweremadu, representative of NURHI, PPFN, OSSAP(MDG) NCWS and the ISLAMIC COUNCIL.
Part of the commemoration of the 2012 World Population Day, was a community outreach held at the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) on July 10, 2012. This was essentially to enlighten the grass root dwellers, who constitute part of the vulnerable group, on the need to support the campaign for child spacing and to embrace family planning as a strategy for building a healthy society. In attendance were the Executive Chairman of AMAC, Hon. Micah Jiba, members of the area council and staff of both the UNFPA and the National Population Commission. There were resource persons who made presentations on HIV/AIDS and other health related issues.
Also part of the WPD commemoration was a schools debate held on July 11 between Government Secondary School, Jiwa and Government Secondary School, Gwagwalada at the Conference Hall of the National Population Commission. The University debate followed on July 12 between students of the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Management Sciences of the University of Abuja. The debate which was targeted at the teenagers and youths as the most vulnerable group was captioned, “Can Nigeria achieve Universal Access to Reproductive Health Services by 2015?” .