By Ndey Sowe
Kunle Adeniyi, the Country Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in the Gambia, has called for action to ensure that ‘no woman dies while trying to give birth’. Adeniyi said made this call during the end of a twelve day campaign dubbed: “I Am for Zero”. According to Adeniyi, the campaign is a platform that seeks to promote the realization of UNFPA’s three transformative results: zero unmet need for family planning; zero preventable maternal death; zero gender-based violence; and harmful practices.
“We should ensure that women in all the regions of the entire country do not die while trying to bring forth life,” he said.
Adeniyi said many women still die while bringing children into this world. He added that women are major beneficiaries in the health intervention.
“That is why UNFPA work is mainly centered on the health and wellbeing of women and girls. Thus, this is why we work to ensure that when our women are pregnant and bearing children, they do that in a safe and healthy environment,” he said.
He cited that oftentimes both mother and child die and in some cases, the woman dies while the little child is left in the world.
“The changes in the life of a child who lost his or her mother at birth and the one that is raised by a mother, is very different,” he explained. He emphasized the need to support the health of women when it comes to fertility, which will ensure women have children when they are healthy and are able to deliver those children in a safe environment.
He remarked: “UNFPA works to support the entire country and in health centers, in order to support women bear children when they want to have it and if they want to have it.” He called for the need to support women who might have problems having children, while urging leaders to help push for these kinds of changes. He encouraged men to be involved in sexual and reproductive health and to address gender-based violence in the country.
Lamin Saidykhan, the Governor North Bank Region (NBR) while expressing the campaign as successful, said women should be protected and not abused.
“The campaign is a crucial one, as is geared towards the protection and health of our women,” he said and appealed to the UNFPA to organize more of such sensitization in the future.
Michelle Mendy, Lady Councilor for Lower Nuimi and Aji Gass Lowe, Lady Councilor for Jokadou, discouraged child marriage and other harmful practices meted out on their fellow women.
Both call on men to allow their wives to access health care services such as family planning and the screening of cervical cancer, among others. They called on the UNFPA and its relevant partners to end wife battering and other challenges the women of the Gambia and those across the world are grappling with.