The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has assured that the state government will continue to prioritise policies aimed at reducing inequality and engendering inclusive growth.
Obaseki, who said this in commemoration of the World Population Day, marked every July 11, noted that his administration will strengthen policy frameworks and implement innovative solutions to drive inclusive and sustainable development.
According to him, “In commemoration of the World Population Day, we will continue to ensure implementation of policies which favour healthy population growth for economic development and social cohesion. On a day like this, it is imperative to reaffirm our commitment to eliminating practices that threaten vulnerable groups especially women and girls as the world is confronting the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Noting that this year's theme for the day, safeguarding sexual and reproductive health needs and vulnerabilities of women and girls during the Covid-19 pandemic, he said it was imperative for all stakeholders to work together to check against practices that threaten women and girls.
The governor said that the state government has undertaken a number of initiatives to ensure pregnant women continue to have access to affordable, accessible healthcare services, as Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) across the state are fully equipped to continue to provide essential services despite the challenges of COVID-19.
He added that the state government is also strengthening implementation of the Violence Against Persons (VAP) law to deal with perpetrators of all forms of violence against vulnerable persons and groups, noting that work is in progress with key consultants in domesticating a Sex Offenders Register, as part of the government’s stance against rape and other forms of gender-based violence.
Obaseki noted that his administration will not compromise policies which ensure more children in the state have access to basic education with the EdoBEST at Home programme, while stressing that more resources will be expended to provide more space for wealth creation so as to engender inclusive growth and development.
In his message for World Population Day, on Sunday, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, said “The COVID-19 pandemic affects everyone, everywhere, “but it does not affect everyone equally. It is deepening existing inequalities and vulnerabilities, particularly for women and girls.”
“With many countries on lockdown and health systems struggling to cope, sexual and reproductive health services are being sidelined and gender-based violence is on the rise,” he added.