Based on need for gender-responsiveness interventions to address forced migration and trafficking, United Nations (UN) Women in collaboration with the governments of Nigeria and Italy is implementing a pilot intervention in Edo and Lagos states, with a potential of upscaling to other parts of the country.
Comfort Lamptey, UN Women coordinator disclosed this in Benin City at the formal launching of the Project on ‘Preventing Forced Migration and Trafficking of Women & Girls in Nigeria.’
She said the project launched was to both recognise and build on the efforts of the Nigerian government in addressing trafficking and irregular migration, promising to build on mechanisms and structures set up at state level, including the Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking and NGO Taskforce on Trafficking.
“The project being launched today both recognizes and builds on the efforts of the Nigerian government to address trafficking and irregular migration. Here in Edo State, it will build on mechanisms and structures set up at the State level, including the Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking and the NGO Taskforce on Trafficking.
“Nigeria presents itself simultaneously as country of origin, transit and destination for all streams of migration and trafficking. Beyond irregular migration, Nigeria also experiences significant trafficking”, she added.
According to the Coordinator, UN Women is working to support government of Nigeria’s developmental and humanitarian priorities and frameworks, adding that these are anchored in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She further said the Goals hold that states collective interest and the most vulnerable people and populations are not left behind by economic, social and environmental progress.
“Out of the 17 SDGs, trafficking in persons is specifically mentioned in three targets under three goals: Goal 5 (Gender Equality), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and 16 (Peace Justice and Strong Institutions).The project we are launching today is therefore situated within broader efforts to support accelerated progress and realization of the SDGs”, she added.
Lamptey lamented that women and children constitute majority of those trafficked to Europe as well as being irregular migrants to other African destinations and the Middle East, adding that such irregular migration is being facilitated through agents, family acquaintances, etc.
She noted, “Women and children constitute the majority of those trafficked to Europe, as well as being irregular migrants to other African destinations and the Middle East. While there are dynamic shifts over time, the main sites of forced documented and undocumented migration and trafficking include Edo State, the Delta and some Northern states.
“As most of you know, the trafficking and irregular migration of women and girls in Nigeria is facilitated either formally through agents, or informally through family and acquaintances. Criminal gangs and networks operating are also increasingly involved in trafficking.
“Women and girls are primarily working in or trafficked into sectors like domestic work, the sex sector and farms, which further exposes them to a range of other violations, including various forms of gender-based violence.”
Lamptey further lamented that in spite of efforts being made by government and individual bodies, potential for women’s organizations to support efforts aimed at preventing and addressing the effects of forced migration and trafficking remain under-utilized.
WHO Declares Fresh Ebola Outbreak In African Country
The latest outbreak of the Ebola disease in Congo has officially been declared over, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday.
The organisation said that the outbreak affected the north-western Équateur province, with the first case recorded there on April 23.
It said that in total, there were four confirmed cases and one suspected case; all patients died of the disease.
In a previous outbreak in the province between June and November 2020, a total of 130 cases were detected and 55 people died.
However, the latest outbreak was the 14th recorded in the country of 90 million since 1976.
Between 2014 and 2016, the largest-ever outbreak of the disease took place in West Africa with more than 11,000 deaths.
Ebola infection often leads to high fever and internal bleeding, and is life-threatening.
Lagos Releases Guidelines On Safe, Lawful Abortion
The Lagos State Government has developed and launched guidelines for the development of safe and lawful abortion services within the ambit of the state’s criminal law.
The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, presented a 40-page policy document tagged “Lagos State Guidelines on Safe Termination of Pregnancy for Legal Indications” at a stakeholders’ engagement on Tuesday.
Dr. Ogboye said the need was borne out of the desire for evidence-based data and information for health workers in public and private sectors.
Ogboye explained that while therapeutic termination of pregnancy is permissible under the law in Lagos State, the post-procedure absence of clear guidelines has stalled the effective implementation at appropriate levels of care resulting in preventable deaths.
His words: “In 2011, the Lagos State House of Assembly updated the criminal code, providing for abortion to save the life and protect the physical health of the woman.
“While physical health is covered under the Lagos legal framework, services conforming to the law have not been available in the procedure of the State health sector.
“This document provides information on relevant laws applicable in Lagos State while providing standards and best practices with regards to legal indications, pre, and post-procedure care, methods, the and monitoring.
“I must state here that this document has undergone wide consultation with relevant technical stakeholders within the legal and health service context in the State.”
Ogboye said the follow-up development of the guidelines commenced in 2018 with the Safe Engage project led by the Lagos Ministry of Health and hosted by the Society for Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Nigeria (SOGON), with support from the Population Reference Bureau (PRB).
He noted that stakeholders in the state’s health sector worked with key opinion leaders in Lagos and the southwest region to develop a tailored advocacy tool for terminations within the legal context.
He also pointed out that the advocacy messages on the Safe Engage project focused on ensuring that safe abortion services were available within legal indications in Lagos, and domesticating the Violence Against Persons Prohibition, VAPP, Act supporting women to terminate a pregnancy caused by rape or incest.
“To guide the implementation, one of the follow-up outcomes recommendations of the project was the adaptation of the National Standards and Guidelines for Safe Termination of Pregnancy within Legal Indications within the Lagos State context.
“The Federal Ministry of Health had developed and disseminated the national guidelines on safe termination of pregnancy which highlights the compendium of conditions and circumstances under which termination of pregnancy could be instituted.
“The guideline was intended to build the capacity of health professionals to identify pregnancies for which legal termination could be instituted.
“Marie Stopes International in Nigeria in collaboration with the Population Reference Bureau proposed to support the State government to adapt the document.”
Further, Ogboye said that the process for National guidelines adaptation included technical meetings to discuss sections of the law supporting safe abortion and conditions permitted within the legal framework to save the lives and the physical health of mothers; and validation meetings with the broader stakeholders to review the document.
“All that hard work has culminated in today’s dissemination of the guidelines. We hope this dissemination today will help guide health providers to provide this service within the ambit of the law”, Ogboye stated.
The Country Director, Marie Stopes International Organisation Nigeria, MSION, Mr. Emmanuel Ajah, stated that the development and dissemination of the policy document have once again proven that Lagos is leading the way for State-level intervention to stem the tide of unsafe abortion and give women and girls improved health outcomes.
Noting that abortion in Nigeria is not illegal but restrictive, Ajah said significant numbers of health providers are unaware of the legal indications for safe termination of pregnancy.
He stressed the importance of healthcare providers with the responsibility to determine when the life of the woman is in danger as prescribed in Nigeria’s laws need to have the right understanding and make those critical decisions based on sound medical judgment and not on religion, culture, or other biases.
“The domestication of this policy provides that needed guidance to healthcare providers on medical conditions in pregnancy that pose a high risk to the woman’s life and health if the pregnancy progresses to term, and on the standard management of abortion within the extent of the law in Lagos state.
“This policy is a demonstration of the commitment of the Lagos state government to improving maternal health, especially mitigating the impact of unsafe abortion practices in the State,” Ajah stated.
The Vice-Chancellor, University of Medical Sciences, Otukpo, Prof. Innocent Ujah, who was one of the Consultants who developed the document, said the enunciation, deployment, providing, and use of the guidelines will preserve the lives of pregnant women and women whose physical or mental health would be compromised with the continuation of their pregnancies.
On her part, a Professor of Law at the University of Lagos, Prof. Ayodele Atsenuwa explained that the Lagos State Criminal law of 2011 only prohibits unlawful abortion.
Atsenua observed that the document clarifies and explains what lawful termination of pregnancy means in the context of the law adding that education of law enforcement officers is important with regards to providing and understanding the context of the law.
Edo 4, Delta, Rivers 5 As NCDC Confirms 62 Monkeypox Cases In 19 States
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has said that 62 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in the country.
The NCDC disclosed this in its latest monkeypox situation report released on Tuesday.
The World Health Organisation says monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms very similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although it is clinically less severe.
The agency said from January to June 26, 2022, the disease was confirmed in 18 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
The report also showed that there were at least 204 suspected cases of the disease in the country.
“There were 42 new suspected cases reported in Epi week 25, 2022 (June 20 to 26, 2022) from 18 states – Lagos (five), Bayelsa (four), Nasarawa (four), Plateau (four), Gombe (three), FCT (three), Adamawa (two), Cross River (two), Delta (two), Ondo(two), Oyo (two), Rivers (two), Taraba (two), Abia (one), Benue (one), Edo (one), Katsina (one) and Kwara (one).
“Out of 42 suspected cases, there were 21 new positive cases in Epi week 25, 2022 from 13 states – Cross River (2), Delta (2), FCT (2), Lagos (2), Nasarawa (2), Plateau (2), Rivers (2), Taraba (2), Abia (1), Adawama (1), Bayelsa (1), Edo (1) and Katsina (1).
“Overall, from January 1 to June 26, 2022, there have been 204 suspected cases and 62 confirmed cases (44 male, 18 female) from 19 states – Lagos (10), Adamawa (6), Bayelsa (5), Delta (5), Rivers (5), Cross River (4), Edo (4), FCT (4), Plateau (4), Nasarawa (3), Kano (2), Imo (2), Taraba (2), Abia (1), Katsina (1), Niger (1), Oyo (1), Ondo (1) and Ogun (1). One death was recorded – a 40-year-old man with co-morbidity that was receiving immunosuppressive treatment,” the reported noted.
The NCDC says the exact reservoir of monkeypox is still unknown although African rodents are suspected to play a part in transmission.
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