About 214 of the girls rescued from Islamist sect Boko Haram are visibly pregnant, according to unofficial reports.
Although he did not disclose numbers in the latest pregnancy reports, Executive Director, UNFPA, Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, said that in the last one year, the organization had taken deliveries of over 16,000 pregnancies in the troubled North East part of the country.
While giving update of the response to the rehabilitation of the rescued women and children, Osotimehin said the agency, in anticipation of the magnitude of the problem on hand, had put in place a formidable team in collaboration with the Federal and state governments, to first restore the dignity of the girls, who, he said, are facing severe psychosocial trauma.
“What we found is that some of the women and girls that have come back actually have much more in terms of the stress they have faced, so the counselling has to be more intense and working with them one-on-one.
“I’m glad the communities are not excommunicating them and are taking them back. That is an important therapy too. We anticipate this is going to escalate because the military intervention is continuing, we find that more people are now needing our services and we will continue,” Osotimehin said.
According to him, UNFPA had earlier collaborated with the Federal and state governments to train 60 counsellors to offer psychosocial services to the affected women and children. Those trained were carefully chosen from the communities, who understand the context and sociology of the people.
“UNFPA is providing dignity for women. In conflict and disasters, most people would only think of water and sanitation, provision of tents and housing, and food, which are all important. But women and girls have specific needs that nobody else looks after; it is only UNFPA that is doing this. We are giving psychosocial counselling.
“Beyond that, in the growing young people, we will always have pregnant women, but nobody segregates the needs of the pregnant women which are very important and different from the needs of the average community. We look after them, and ensure they get antenatal care and that they deliver properly and that they even get Caesarean Section when necessary,” Osotimehin said.