UNFPA promises psycho-social support to 82 released Chibok girls

THE UN Population Fund (UNFPA) on Monday said it would be on standby to provide psycho-social support and reproductive healthcare to the just released 82 Chibok girls.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 82 Chibok girls were on May 5 released by their abductors, Boko Haram, based on agreement reached by negotiators on behalf of Federal Government.

The girls are part of the more than 200 schoolgirls abducted in Chibok, Borno, on April 14, 2014.

A statement signed by Lolade Johnson, the Communications Officer, UNFPA, Abuja, noted that the UNFPA, in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, would continue to support the girls.

She stated that “UNFPA continues to support women and girls who are victims of sexual and gender-based violence.

“For the newly rescued Chibok girls, an emergency team of psycho-social counsellors and health professionals have been deployed to assist with profiling of the girls.

“Dignity kits consisting of culturally appropriate dresses and feminine hygiene supplies have been procured and will be distributed to help restore the dignity of the girls.”

Johnson stated that the girls would also be part of a similar rehabilitation programme that was set up for the 21 Chibok girls released in October 2016.

According to her, the programme is tailor-made to meet each girl’s peculiar needs of counselling to help overcome the trauma endured after being held in captivity for more than three years.

She said “the programme includes among others; access to quality education to bridge the learning gap created during the abduction.

“Access to reproductive healthcare for their sexual wellbeing and rehabilitation support, and a skills acquisition programme to ease their re-integration into the society.”

The UNFPA officer said six out of every 10 girls were reported to have experienced a form of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) while the insurgency in the North-East of Nigeria lasted.

She added that many girls had limited access to sexual and reproductive healthcare, stressing, however, that “UNFPA and partners have provided direct prevention and response services to 200,000 women and girl survivors or those at risk of GBV through its safe spaces and community outreach.

“Over 3.5 million survivors have been provided with sexual and reproductive health care services and psycho-social support and counselling.

“UNFPA remains committed to delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.”

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