By Hassan Zaggi
The Federal Government has been advised to consider women’s health an investment that will improve the economic indices of the nation.
The Executive Director of International Society of Media in Public Health (ISMPH), Chief Moji Makanjuola, gave the advice at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja, yesterday.
The media interaction was organised by ISMPH in commemoration of women’s month.
She lamented that the many challenges confronting women have not received the needed attention by the government over the years.
She, therefore, called on the government at all levels to take care of women issues beyond reproductive health.
“We are in an era that women’s health becomes an investment. If 50 per cent of the society (who are women) is not being looked after, then where are we going as a country? If we are talking about human development capital and we are not looking at the peculiar health needs of the women, then as a nation, we are not serious.
“So this whole gamut of promoting women’s health now and as always, will be what we will be focusing on throughout the year. The month of March is a start up and we know that the media has an important role to play.
“Reproductive health is number one, but there are other issues that are militating against the health of Nigerian women and we need to speak to it.”
While enumerating some of the many challenges bedevilling the Nigerian women, she said: “These days, Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are taking their toll on us as a people, you know that more and more women are coming down.
“That woman that is raped has a health need. She might end up with a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI), she might end up being pregnant, she is traumatized and some of them end up in psychiatric homes and not many of these psychiatric homes are available.
“We are looking at women that are addicted to drugs. Day in day out we use to think that it is a thing for men, but more women are getting addicted to drugs and other illicit substances. Where do they get rehabilitation?
“Often times, women that have peculiar diseases like depression, they don’t get the support that the men get. Often times they are stigmatized, their lives come to an end because of the peculiar health challenges that they are going through.
“So, we just thought that we need to bring this to fore. If a man who is depressed can get the attention of being treated, the women too need that can kind of attention, even more.”
She, however, frowned against stigmatization of women who are raped, insisting that the society and the community should show sympathy and integrate them.