JOHN ONAH, Abuja
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), West Central Africa Regional Office (WCARO) on Saturday says education is key to ending maternal deaths, instability and underdevelopment in the region.
UNFPA Regional Director, Mr Mabingue Ngom, said this in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
According to him, the West Central African region is worst hit by challenges of maternal deaths, instability and underdevelopment.
”About 55 per cent of young people in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are out of school.
”Compulsory education for girls is paramount to overcoming challenges of maternal deaths and terror.
“Such is the epicenter of the crisis and very worrisome at a time of terror groups.
“Keep girls at schools, it will have positive impact on the society generally because she have access to family planning.
“If a woman has access to family planning, that means maternal deaths would reduce drastically,” he said.
Ngom noted that taking census of the population every 10-years was necessary and good, adding that UN Agency would support members to overcome the task of conducting census in order to reap Demographic Dividends (DD).
The Regional Director said UNFPA was committed to the implementation of Cairo commitment by ensuring that women had access to reproductive rights.
Ngom said that they would continue to work with traditional leaders in accelerating progress for a Gender Based Violence (GBV) free region.
He said that political leaders in the region had done well in their response to ending GBV, stressing that UNFPA would support any measure taken to end violence against women and girls.
The UN official said that UNFPA would also intervene in the fight against the dreadful impact of COVID-19 on the region in areas of planning, prevention and cure.
He said the intervention would assist the member countries through contact tracing as they did in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone during the Ebola virus outbreak.
“We will help countries pass information, we will help them plan as well as reinforce the health system especially when it affects women and girls,” he said.
Ngom said that UNFPA was determined to ensure that women and girls were protected during crisis, in areas of humanitarian situation and also giving the perpetrators deserving treatment.