The Ogun state government has launched the State Sexual Assault Referral Center (SARC), built with the support of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The First Lady and Wife of Ogun Governor, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun , who commissioned the center located within the premises of the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu, noted that the initiative was focused on providing quality and affordable health care to the people of the state with the hope of increasing the life expectancy of women and girls.
She described sexual and gender based violence as not only a human right violation but also as a public health issue affecting all socio-economic and cultural groups at a detriment to both individuals affected and the society.
The governor’s wife listed the common forms of sexual and gender based violence experienced by women and girls in Nigeria to include, sexual harassment, rape, physical violence, harmful traditional practices, emotional and psychological violence and socioeconomic violence.
She added that exposure to these forms of violence lead to serious health consequences like sexual and reproductive health problems, physical injuries and death.
Mrs. Abiodun informed that the state-of-the-art Sexual Assault Referral Center, jointly provided by the UNFPA and the state government, would provide services which include, medical examination and treatment, psychological support and counselling services, legal support and referral to other agencies for further support to make the Center a place where survivors feel safe, protected and confident to tell their stories.
The First Lady, appreciated UNFPA and other development partners for their continued support for the state, particularly in the health sector, assuring them of goverment’s collaboration at all times.
Similarly, the first lady has hinted that Family Planning is a cost effective way to prevent maternal, infant and child mortality in the society.
Mrs Abiodun stated this at the commissioning of the Ogun State Family Planning Training Center, situated at the General Hospital, Ijebu Ode.
According to her, “family planning reduces maternal mortality by reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, abortions and the proportion of births at high risk”.
She asserted that the well-being of women and girls of reproductive age group,remained critical determinants of global and national health indices decrying the prevalent maternal mortality in Ogun state, Nigeria and the world at large.
” It is estimated that meeting women’s need for modern contraceptives would prevent about one- quarter to one- third of all maternal deaths, saving 140,000 to 150,000 lives per year. Thus, reducing unmet need for modern contraception remains a priority in global public health.”
Mrs Abiodun disclosed that the Ogun State Family Planning Center as an educational facility with the intended would continue to build capacities of doctors, nurses and community health extension workers apart from providing safe and protected environment for acquiring practical clinical skills.
The First Lady appreciated the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) team for for its financial and technical support in the establishment of the first family planning training center in Ogun state.