By Esther Okoi
Concerned about female health and access to safe abortion and contraception in Nigeria, Cross River State has been selected amongst the States in the Southern Geopolitical Zone to pilot the affairs of post abortion care and reproductive health services.
This was made known during an enlarged stakeholders meeting at the instance of the Federal Government and an International Non-Governmental Organisation (IPAS) that seeks to increase access to safe abortion and contraception, held in Abuja.
Making a presentation of the Work Plan for the State, the Director-General of the Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Deaconess Abasioffiong Offiong, commended IPAS Organisation and the Federal Ministry of Health for the wonderful initiative of making contraception accessible to women, stating that the idea will help to improve women’s access and right to safe abortion and reproductive health services.
In her words; “This is a very welcomed development because this initiative will work to improve women’s access and right to safe abortion care and reproductive health services by training doctors, nurses, and midwives in clinical and counseling skills for abortion, post abortion care and family planning. It will also help in improving health-service delivery to make abortion safer and more accessible for women and less costly for the health system.”
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She pledged the readiness of the health sector in the State to work with stakeholders including policymakers around the world to support women’s reproductive rights and increase access to safe and legal abortion services, stating that Cross River State will engage women and men in communities to expand their knowledge of reproductive health and reproductive rights to increase access to reproductive health technologies, including manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) and medical abortion, amongst others.
“Making abortion, including abortion self-care safe, legal, available, accessible and affordable by eliminating all laws and policies restricting or criminalising access to safe abortion health services will ensure universal health coverage. It will also integrate comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information, post-abortion and contraception through a comprehensive education about sex with informed choice and autonomy to such services without permission of third-parties will be of tremendous advantage for our women in today’s society,” she stated.