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COVID-19: Women Front And Centre

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One thing is clear about the COVID-19 pandemic, as stock markets tumble, schools and universities close, people stockpile supplies and home becomes a different and crowded space: this is not just a health issue. It is a profound shock to our societies and economies, exposing the deficiencies of public and private arrangements that currently function only if women play multiple and underpaid roles.
With children out of school, mothers at home may still work, but many have also become teachers and caregivers, with consequences for those previously employed in those roles. For the 8.5 million women migrant domestic workers, often on insecure contracts, income loss also affects their dependents back at home. As schools close in more countries, the number of mothers facing this across the world rises and the consequences accumulate.
By the middle of March there were 207,855 confirmed cases in 166 countries, areas or territories. Without data that is disaggregated by sex, however, these numbers give us only part of the story of the impact on women and men. We need far more sex-disaggregated data to tell us how the situation is evolving, including on differing rates of infection, differential economic impacts, differential care burden, and incidence of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
Even without this, experience from previous major epidemics points us to specific strengths and vulnerabilities that we can look out for and be proactive to safeguard. Where governments or businesses put income protection in place, this can ease these dilemmas, sustain incomes and avoid driving households into poverty. This response must also include those in the informal economy, where most women who work outside home make their livelihood. Such social protection is best directed specifically to women.
The 2014-16 Ebola outbreak in the West African countries provide essential, gendered public health and socioeconomic lessons. Women in those outbreaks were exposed to both health and economic risks, as they are again now, in ways intrinsically connected with their roles in the community and responsibilities as caregivers within the home and family.
For example, both Ebola and Zika infections are potentially catastrophic for pregnant women. Yet during both previous outbreaks, access to family planning services were very limited, and pregnant and lactating women were excluded from vaccination against the viruses. This underlines the importance of sustained maternal health services to avoid a resurgence of birth-related deaths, and equal access for women to the development and use of all medical products including vaccines once produced.
This is a moment for governments to recognize both the enormity of the contribution women make and the precarity of so many. This includes a focus on sectors where women are over-represented and underpaid, such as daily wage earners, small business owners, those working in cleaning, caring, cashiering and catering sectors and in the informal economy.
Globally, women make up 70 per cent of frontline workers in the health and social sector, like nurses, midwives, cleaners and laundry workers. We need mitigation strategies that specifically target both the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on women and that support and build women’s resilience, as we saw in Liberia and elsewhere. And to make those responses as well designed as possible, women should be fully engaged in their creation, be priority recipients of aid, and partners in building the longer-term solutions.
We are learning more every day from the arc of the pandemic in China. We have been working closely there with country leadership as part of the UN collective response. Joint campaigns have reached 1 billion people, with communications that raise awareness through public health information, combat stigma and discrimination, reflect women’s specific needs, promote women’s leadership and contributions and develop recovery plans that link equality, health and the economy.
All of us engaged in this effort, whether public or private sector, need to take a coordinated, people-centred approach to rapidly building health system capacity in both developed and developing countries, making a conscious effort to put women front and centre. For example, creating better access to appropriate personal protective equipment for home-based caregivers, and removing obstacles to their work, by promoting flexible working arrangements, and ensuring supplies of menstrual hygiene products. These needs are even more important for areas under lockdown or quarantine. So too are considerations of gender-based violence that are exacerbated by these conditions, but may not receive the attention they need, in the drive to respond to the pandemic.
Violence against women is already an epidemic in all societies, without exception. Every day, on average, 137 women are killed by a member of their own family. We also know that levels of domestic violence and sexual exploitation spike when households are placed under the increased strains that come from security, health and money worries, and cramped and confined living conditions. We see this frequently among displaced populations in crowded refugee camps; and reported domestic violence has tripled recently in some countries practising social distancing.
COVID-19 provides us with an opportunity for radical, positive action to redress long-standing inequalities in multiple areas of women’s lives. There is scope for not just endurance, but recovery and growth. I ask governments and all other service providers including the private sector to take this opportunity to plan their response to COVID-19 as they have never done before, and fully take a gender perspective into account, proactively building gender expertise into response teams and embedding gender dimensions within response plans. For example, include surge funding for women’s shelters so they can provide for women who need to escape violent relationships, and aim economic support and bail outs specifically at retail sectors, hospitality and small businesses where women are predominantly employed on precarious contracts, if any, and are most vulnerable to forced cost-saving.

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Assemblies Of God Women Move To Check Hypertension Prevalence

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As the women of Assemblies of God, Ikwerre -South District, aka Canaan City, converged for a three-day religious summit in Alakahia, Port Harcourt, the need for a careful living to check the prevalence of high blood pressure, otherwise called hypertension, has been reechoed. This is part of the obligations of the management of the women department at the district level, at improving the wellbeing of its members.
Hypertension is a health condition in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high. Usually, it is defined as blood pressure above 140/90, and considered severe if the pressure is above 180/120.
Addressing participants at the conference, recently, Dr Okpako Ebruphiyo highlighted age, black race, family history, overweight and sedentary living as risk factors for hypertension and cautioned them against the intake of alcohol and table salt as such ingredients are not only capable of provoking high blood pressure, but could exacerbate its existence in the body.
The medical expert who emphasised the imperative for body relaxation as a measure against stress, called for regular exercise, regular medical checkup as well as intake of less carbohydrate with more vegetables. Referring to hypertension as a silent killer, she warned that a careless attitude towards it would lead to stroke, aneurysm, heart failure, weakened and narrowed blood vessels in kidneys, thickened, narrowed or torn blood vessels in the eyes. Others include metabolic syndrome, trouble with memory or understanding and dementia.
Hypertension is the most common modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in both men and women. The prevalence and severity of hypertension rise markedly with age, and blood pressure control becomes more difficult with aging in both genders, particularly in women. According to research, hypertension is less common in women, compared with men, in those younger than 65 years of age, but is more common in elderly (65 years and older) women than men. 
As a primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease, keeping blood pressure under control is vital for preserving health and reducing the risk of these dangerous conditions.

By: Sylvia ThankGod-Amadi

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Women

Want Your Marriage To Work?

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*Secret 1
Everyone you marry has a weakness. Only God does not have a weakness. So if you focus on your spouse’s weakness you can’t get the best out of his/her strength.
*Secret 2*
Everyone has a dark history. No one is an angel. When you get married or you want to get married, stop digging into someone’s past. What matters most is the present life of your partner. Old things have passed away. Forgive and forget. Focus on the present and the future.
Secret 3
Every marriage has its own challenges. Marriage is not a bed of roses. Every good marriage has gone through its own test of blazing fire. True love proves in times of challenges. Fight for your marriage. Make up your mind to stay with your spouse in times of need. Remember the vow: For better for worse. In sickness and in health be there.
Secret 4
Every marriage has different levels of success. Don’t compare your marriage with that of any one else. We can never be equal. Some will be far, some behind. To avoid marriage stresses, be patient, work hard and with time your marriage dreams shall come true.
Secret 5
To get married is declaring war. When you get married you must declare war against enemies of marriage. Some enemies of marriage are:
Ignorance, Prayerlessness, Unforgiveness, Third party influence, Stinginess, Stubbornness Lack of love, Rudeness, Laziness, Disrespect, Cheating etc. Be ready to fight to maintain your marriage zone.
Secret 6
There is no perfect marriage. There is no ready – made marriage. Marriage is hard work. Volunteer yourself to work daily on it. Marriage is like a car that needs proper maintenance and proper service. If this is not done it will break down somewhere exposing the owner to danger, or some unhealthy circumstances. Let us not be careless about our marriages.
Secret 7
God cannot give you a complete person you desire. He gives you the person in the form of raw materials in order for you to mold the person into what you desire. This can only be achieved through prayer, love and Patience
Secret 8
Getting married is taking a huge risk. You can not predict what will happen in the future. Situations may change so leave room for adjustments. Husband can lose his good job or you may fail to have babies. All these require you to be prayerful otherwise you might divorce.
Secret 9
Marriage is not a contract. It is permanent. It needs total commitment. Love is the glue that sticks the couple together. Divorce starts in the mind and the devil feeds the mind. Never ever entertain thoughts of getting a divorce. Never threaten your spouse with divorce. Choose to remain married. God hates divorce.
Secret 10
Every marriage has a price to pay. Marriage is like a bank account. It is the money that you deposit that you withdraw. If you don’t deposit love, peace and care into your marriage, you are not a candidate for a blissful home.
So today let us pray for our marriages.

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Oshoala Tasks Nigerian Girls On Education

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Reigning CAF Woman Footballer of the Year Asisat Oshoala, has urged Nigerian girls to focus on their education while  exhibiting talents in sports, especially football.
Oshoala, also the Captain of the senior national female football team, Super Falcons,  spoke at the 59th Inter-House Sports Competition of Queen’s College, Yaba, Lagos, on Saturday.
According to her,  proper education can guarantee success of any individual and ensure production of exemplary future leaders.
She said that education could go side-by-side with sports, adding that in such a situation,  one should  not suffer because of the other.
“I feel very happy to be here today. I am amazed with what I have witnessed here today. It is very heartwarming.
“I am excited  seeing girls compete with much zeal in the various sports showcased at this occasion.
“It shows that these girls are discovering their passion for sports unlike what it used to be in the past, where it was an ‘all boys’ thing.
“Talking about football specifically, I will really love to have  lots of Asisat Oshoalas in Nigeria, but first thing first: education is very critical,” she said.
The footballer said that there was the need to ensure that  young people, especially girls, would  take their education serious.
“This, however, does not stop them from showcasing their talents in the area of sports, especially football,” she said.
The four-time CAF African Woman Footballer of the Year, who plies her trade with the  Barcelona Female Football Club in Spain, said that  she almost missed out when she decided to opt out of education to concentrate on football.
“I chose sports at some point, but at the end of the day, I realised the place of education and retraced my steps by embracing it, while still being active in sports.
“This, therefore, is the right period to let these girls understand that education and sports can go hand-in-hand,” the Brand Ambassador of Emzor said.

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