Connect with us

Women

South South Women Brainstorm In PH …Set Agenda For NCOWA Meeting

Published

on

A four-day pre-council zonal workshop by the Ministry of Women Affairs of the South- South region has ended in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.
The workshop with the theme:”Gender Equality:A Panacea For Enduring Security And Sustainable Economic Recovery In The Post Covid-19 Era”, attended by Directors of the six states that make up South-South ge-opolitical zone of Nigeria took place at the auditorium of Rivers State Ministry of Women Affairs, Eastern By-pass,Port Harcourt. 
This is the first time the pre-council zonal meeting is taking place in Port Harcourt. 
Declaring the workshop open,the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs,Amb. Anthonia Akpabio Ekpa said the workshop focused on the medium term national development plan and the preparation of council memoranda towards the upcoming 21st National Council on Women Affairs meeting holding later in the year.
The Permanent Secretary, who was represented at the occasion by Lady Ngozi Roseline Obinna commended delegates for the passion,dedication, unity and energy exhibited prior and during the workshop to achieve collective goals.
She enumerated the thematic areas for the memoranda for the 21st National Council of Women Affairs meeting to be “Gender mainstreaming, Empowerment of Women and Protection and Promotion of reproductive health and sexual rights of women.
Other thematic areas are protection and promotion of child participation, survival and welfare, social protection of the vunerable, poverty alleviation and social inclusion amongst others.
Earlier, in her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary of the Rivers State Ministry of Women Affairs, Barr. (Mrs) Uchechukwu Uriri commended delegates for attending the workshop and thanked the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for his benevolence for ensuring that the workshop took place under a conductive environment. 
She noted that it was the hallmark of the administration in providing good leadership and unprecedented display of support to women in the political, economic and social fronts in the state.
She encouraged delegates to rub minds together, put in their best and come up with appropriate decisions that are best for the zone.
Delivering  the paper on the Conceptual Analysis of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs  (FMWA’s) Mandate in Relation to the Medium  Term National Development Plan 2025,Mr Tommy  of FMWA, Abuja,said,the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs by its mandate is charged with the responsibility of formulating policies, implementing projects and programmes aimedat improving the lives and livelihood of women, children and other vunerable groups in Nigeria. 
Consequently, the Ministry collaborates with relevant stakeholders, MDA’s at the national levels and at the 36 states of the federation as well as development partners to achieve these onerous tasks.
He enumerated the strategic  policy mandates of the ministry towards the Medium Term National Development Plan 2021-2025 to include most aspects of social development, putting people first and leaving no one behind, removing all barriers towards attaining self sufficiency in an inclusive manner with shared responsibility  for poverty reduction, prevention and containment.Mainstreaming gender across all sectors for improved accountability, social system and protection for the vunerable amongst others.
Furthermore,he highlighted the role of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs in the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the federal government, which includes the Economic Sustainability Plan as Covid-19 pandemic stimuli which aims at mitigating effects of a deep recession, while ensuring social stability and addressing long standing economic vulnerabilities occasioned by the Covid-19 lockdown.
The federal ministry, he noted is involved in job creation  scheme by providing equipment for voational skill training in the six geopolitical zones and being involved in post Covid-19 innovation and empowerment series for women amongst others. 
He also disclosed the ministry ‘s deliverables in the implementation of federal government’s nine priority areas aimed at improving health,education and productivity of Nigerians. 
The deliverables include collaboration with the Ministry of Education to increase girl-child enrolment, retention and completion of basic education, collaboration with the Ministry of Health to eradicate harmful traditional practices on women and girls including female mutilation and active collaboration with the private sector to create a large number of well paying jobs.
Other deliverables in the federal government nine priority areas which aims at enhancing social inclusion by scaling up social investments include activation of an action plan to promote political, social and economic participation of girls and women in Nigeria, advocate for the domestication of the Child Rights Acts by all states of the federation. 
Others include to conduct a review and propose amendments to legislation to ensure gender equality and end all forms of discrimination against girls and women,collaborate with relevant stakeholders to develop and implement economic empowerment programmes for women amongst others deliverables. 
Participating states submitted memoranda for dicussion and for onward presentation at the 21st National Council on Women Affairs meeting holding later in the year.
In separate interviews at the end of the workshop, participants expressed optimism that the knowledge gained at the workshop was immeasurable. They promised to utilize the knowledge in enhancing the operations in the various states.
For Mrs Faith Okpohmorho, Diector, Women Affairs in the Delta State Ministry of Women Affairs,Community and Social Development said that “the workshop has enlightened us further to develop our memos in line with what the federal government is doing towards the empowerment of women in Delta State.
Also, Mrs Irenonsen Joy Ikensekhien, Director, Gender Issues in the Edo State  Ministry of Social Development and Gender Issues said that the workshop has helped provide tecnical support  for her state to ensure that memos are presented in line with the four thematic areas of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Abuja.
In her own view, Mrs Mary Atan,Director, Child Development in the Akwa Ibom Ministry of Women Affairs said the workshop has afforded her the benefit of interacting with other delegates  to compare notes on what they are doing concerning women development and empowerment. 

By: Ibinabo Ogolo

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Women

Exclusive Breastfeeding In The Midst Of Economic Downturn 

Published

on

Last week the world celebrated World Breastfeeding Week with the theme;”Step Up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support”. It is an initiative to raise awareness on the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding.
In a joint statement by United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF). Executive Director,Catherin Russell and World Health Organisation  (WHO) Director  –  General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on the occasion of the World Breastfeeding Week, the global bodies noted that, as “global crises continue to threaten the health and nutrition of million of babies and children, the vital importance of breastfeeding as the best possible start in life is more critical than ever”.
The statement further notes that breastfeeding guarantees a safe, nutritious and accessible food source for babies and young children. However, only 44 percent of infants are exclusively breastfed in the first six months of life, short of the World Health Assembly  target of 50 percent by 2025.
Also, the Rivers State Government highlighted the need for nursing mothers to engage in exclusive breastfeeding to promote healthy baby growth. This was contained in a goodwill message delivered by the State Deputy Governor, Dr Ipalibo Banigo to mark the breastfeeding week.
The deputy governor noted that breast milk is nature’s food and ensures a baby’s health and qualify of life from childhood to adulthood.
Exclusive breast feeding of babies since birth, is known as feeding infants only from breast milk,be it directly or from breast or expressed, except drops or syrups consisting of vitamins,mineral supplements or medicine.
In a recent review reported in July, 2022 Dan Brennon, a paediatrician, lactation counsellor, who specialises in newborn care and professor of medicine, stated that exclusive breastfeeding contains anti bodies that help the baby fight off viruses and bacteria. This lowers the baby’s  risk of having asthma or allergies. Babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first six months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illneses and bouts of diarrhoea.  They also have fewers hospitalisation and trips to the doctor.
The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) said exclusive breastfeeding also plays a role in the prevention of SIDs (Sudden Infant Death Sydrome), lowers the risk of diabetes, obesity, certain cancers and also linked to higher Intelligence Quotent (IQ).
After breastfeeding exclusively for six months, many experts recommend that breastfeeding should continue through the baby’s first year of life.
To achieve quality breast milk for babies, recommended foods for nursing mother’s include protein foods 2 –  3 times per day such as meat, poultry, fish (e.g salmon, tuna fish, since Docasa HexanenoicAcid (DHA) is an important omega 3 fatty acid needed by babies for brain development), eggs, dairy, beans, nuts and seeds, dark green and yellow vegetables per day. At least, two servings of fuits per day. Also,whole grains such  as whole wheat breads, pasta, cereal and oatmeal. Also, enough water.
The question now is, with the economic downturn in many countries and especially in Nigeria, can nursing mothers eat well to engage in exclusive breastfeeding?.
In an interview with The Tide, a Nutritionist of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, who wants to remain anonymons, stated that the first thing to do as a nursing mother is to allow the baby suck all the time to help stimulate the breast produce milk. She added that mothers have to eat well for exclusive breastfeeding to be achieved but due to the economic situation, cheaper foods can be consumed. They include rice and fish peppersoup, pap, locally made guinea corn and millet; these are all good. Nursing mothers should drink lots of warm water, consume enough beverages. We do not advise nursing mothers to take palm wine”, she noted.
In another interview with a nursing mother/midwife, Mrs Gloria Ugochukwu, who had her baby a week ago stated that, she started exclusive breastfeeding but may stop at three months due to the economic situation.
“According to her,” I exclusively breastfed my first baby for six months, that was in 2020. Then we had enough money to play around. My husband brought all the necessary food items so I fed properly.  I had enough beverages, milk, pap. I ate rice with enough vegetables, meat, fish and lots of fruits like apples to help the baby. Also, palm wine for the first month which aided the breast milk to flow. Now, with this current baby, things are expensive, so we have to go for supplementary items that are less expensive like cowbell or milksy milk powder instead of peak, then cornflakes. For fruits, no way for apples, instead, I take cucumber, tigernuts, also palm wine. I also take routine medications like blood tablets and vitamins.
With this second baby, my husband and I agreed that I will breastfeed for three months and go back to work so that I can help the family by earning my full salary.
Exclusive breastfeeding was a bit scary and very difficult with my first baby but I am happy that I did it because my baby did not fall sick at all during those six months.
Also speaking with The Tide on telephone, Mrs Jennifer Peters, a nursing mother and civil servant, resident in Kaduna Metropolis said, she is strictly on exclusive breastfeeding and happy about it, though it is her first time.
According to her, “I eat very well, basically rice, vegetables, beans, enough fruits, instead of yam which is expensive. Beverages are also expensive now, I take Dano milk instead of peak milk. No matter the economic situation, I will continue exclusive breastfeeding for six months.
She added that, after four months of maternity leave, she would resume work but will take her baby to the office since there is crèche for babies.
She also added that for the three months she had exclusively breastfed her baby, apart from the routine vaccines administered to the baby at the hospital, they have not visited the hospital for any illness.
Speaking also with The Tide, the Medical Director, Laden Clinic, Rumuogba, Rivers State, Dr Onyii Ukegbu, maintained that, exclusive breastfeeding is far better than artificial milk, despite  the economic situation in the country.
Dr Ukegbu advised nursing mothers to stick to exclusive breastfeeding for six months to avoid diseases that may endanger the baby’s health.
She added that nursing mothers can prepare soups with blended crayfish and “sogu” fish, which is cheap with vegetables and eba. Those in the villages are better off, she said. They can eat plantains with enough vegetables, snails and other protein foods instead of going for cowmilk.

By: Ibinabo Ogolo

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Women

CWG: Nigeria Wins Another Gold In Women’s Relay

Published

on

Nigeria’s team, inspired by World Commonwealth Games champion, Tobi Amusan has won another gold in the women’s 4 x 100 relay race.
The four of Tobi Amusan, Favour Ofili, Rosemary Chukwuma and Grace Nwokocha ran fervently to clinch another gold in the 4x100m women’s relay event on Sunday with a time of 42.10s, thereby, setting another African record.
The men’s team finished behind England to win silver in the final of the 4x100m relay.
The women’s victory in the relay was coming just after Amusan successfully defended her title at the Alexander Stadium on Sunday in the women’s 100m hurdles final.
Amusan was able to run a Games record of 12.30s, setting other records as well, and becoming the first world champion to win gold and the first Nigerian athlete to do the same.
Amusan was one of the favourites to get the gold at the tournament following her impressive showing at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, the United States, which saw her break multiple records to win Nigeria’s first gold at the World Championships.
Having done it on another continent, Amusan made sure to replicate that fine display in Europe, proving that it was no fluke and that it was indeed her time.
The 25-year-old ran a blistering 12.30secs to claim the gold and also set a new Games Record in Birmingham.
Speaking after her victory, Amusan said, “”Honestly, I believe in my abilities but I was not expecting a world record at these championships.
“The goal is always just to execute well and get the win. So the world record is a bonus. I knew I had it in me but I could not believe it when I saw it on the screen after the semis.
“Before the final, I just tried to stay calm and to do my best. I took a deep breath knowing that I have some goals to accomplish and it worked pretty well. I knew it was very fast but not this fast.”
Nigeria’s team, inspired by World Commonwealth Games champion, Tobi Amusan has won another gold in the women’s 4 x 100 relay race.
The four of Tobi Amusan, Favour Ofili, Rosemary Chukwuma and Grace Nwokocha ran fervently to clinch another gold in the 4x100m women’s relay event on Sunday with a time of 42.10s, thereby, setting another African record.
The men’s team finished behind England to win silver in the final of the 4x100m relay.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Women

Menopause : Coping With The Transition 

Published

on

Menopause, a universal reproductive phenomenon is of great concern to many women as they advance in age. This is as a result of insufficient knowledge and understanding and lack of available information to assist them and their families during the period of transition.  Menopause is the natural and inevitable part of a woman’s life. It is the end of a women’s menstrual cycle which inevitably marks the end of her reproductive years.
Naturally, women are born with all their eggs, which are stored in their ovaries. Their ovaries also make the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which control their period (menstruation) and the release of eggs (ovulation). Menopause happens when the ovaries no longer release eggs every month, leading to the stoppage of menstruation. Menopause is a regular part of aging when it happens after the age of 40.
However,some women can go through menopause early. This could be as a result of surgery or damage of their ovaries during cancer treatments and is known as premature menopause.
According to studies natural menopause is different in each woman and comes in three stages.  Perimenopause is the first stage which usually begins several years before menopause, the ovaries slowly make less estrogen and at this point stop releasing eggs. Many women at this stage start experiencing menopause symptoms.  Menopause is the second stage. This is one year after the menstruation has stopped. The ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and making most of their estrogen.  Postmenopause, the third and final stage happens years after menopause.  Menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes usually ease. But health risks related to the loss of estrogen increase as women get older.
In a medically reviewed study by Dr Gabriela Pichardo in June, 2022,she revealed that, most women nearing menopause would begin experiencing some array of what are called Vasomotor symptoms (VMS). The most common is hot flashes, sudden feelings of warmth that spread over the upper body, often with blushing and sweating. These flashes can range from being  mild in most women to severe in others.
Dr Pichardo added that, women may also notice uneven or missed periods, vagina dryness,sore breasts, leading to more  frequent urination, lack of sleep, emotional changes, dry skin, eyes and mouth. Other symptoms which develop later include, fatigue, depression, crankiness, racing heart, headaches, joint and muscle aches  and pains, weight gain, hair loss and changes in sex drive.
Other symptoms according to other researchers include facial hair increase, being angry /agitated /impatient or abusive, being teary or crying for no reason, reduced or enlarged breasts size, burning feet on “fire”, dizziness, increased appetite, leg cramps and restless legs, low self -esteem,” going crazy”, anxiety, poor memory, dyspareumia, post – menopausal bleeding and lack of energy.
Reports indicate that the most prospective mean age of menopause for women in the United States is 52 years. These ages stand in  contrast to the mean ages for menopause of 51 years for United Kingdom, 50 years for China,50 years for Japan,48 years for Nigeria, 47 years for Pakistan, 45 years for India and 44 years in the Philippines.
Reports also have it that there are particular cultural beliefs which impact on women’s understanding and reactions to menopause.  Widespread  in a belief that sexual intercourse would no longer be possible after menopause. That menstrual periods are considered to cleanse the body of semen. If women have intercourse after menopause it is believed that semen will remain in the body and produce stomach bloating and then death.
Consequently, lack of knowledge about menopause made some women misinterpret symptoms as signs of serious illness .
In different interviews with The Tide in Port Harcourt, some women in their 50s expressed their experiences concerning menopausal symptoms.
“I am 53  years old and Iam just experiencing menopausal symptoms. My period is irregular.  I feel heat most times all over my body which makes me uncomfortable and at times extreme cold and then few minutes later heat again. I discussed it with some people, they said it was menopause, that it is a phase that will pass”, said a civil servant resident in D/Line area of Port Harcourt.
Another respondent, a teacher in a government secondary  school in Iwofe area of Port Harcourt, Rivers State shared her experience.
“I know about menopause, so when I started experiencing the symptoms, I went to see a doctor to confirm. I was 45 years then and just had my last twin children. I experienced hot flashes from head to toe, hotness of body, restlessness, constant sweating like Iam pregnant, fever, body pains, irregular periods,low sex drive, eating different things like “esu” (nature chalk). Infact, I felt like I ate poison and needed cure. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed as adinomyosis and was given drugs.
Sharing similar experiences,another respondent, an estate surveyor based in Port Harcourt stated thus:
“I started experiencing menopause symptoms at 44 years.  I did not understand my body at first . I thought I was going crazy.  I experienced lack of concentration, restlessness, distractions, mild hot flashes, waist pain, increased stomach, weak teeth and bones, weaker eye sight, lack of interest in sex. Infact, I did not believe what was happening to me. I had to discuss the situation with an older woman who told me that it was menopause”.
Also, a staff in one of the media organisations in Rivers State told The Tide that:
“I noticed the symptoms at 47 years old, with hot flashes, especially in my breast area, hotness of body sometimes and cold shivers often times, low energy, infact holding a bottle of water was a problem, body pains, irregular periods, large appetite, fainting experiences, dizziness  and vaginal dryness.  I did not understand that it was menopause”.
The management and treatment of menopausal symptoms depend on each individual woman’s experiences. Studies have it that healthy living, herbal and complementary therapies are the solutions.
However, many women can cope with mild menopausal symptoms and do not need to take any medications or use therapies.  Some women may manage their symptoms well with lifestyle measures such as eating well and getting regular physical activity. Other women with symptoms that are affecting their quality of life will need to seek treatment to help them manage their symptoms.
Menopause is  a unique experience for all women, and a range of management options are available for the different symptoms including healthy living, menopausal hormone therapy or MHT, treatments to manage vaginal dryness. Non –  hormonal prescription medications and complementary therapies. Though some treatments are well supported by valid scientific research, it is important and advisable to see a doctor before you start a treatment.
Coping with menopausal symptoms can be helped by balanced and nutritional diet, exercise and relaxation.  Healthy weight is important  though some studies have suggested that exercise can reduce hot flashes.  Women should reduce intake of caffeine, alcohol  and spicy foods, stop smoking.  Rather, they should eat foods with phytoestrogens such as whole bean soy products, whole grains barley, brown rice), legumes (beans). To manage hot flashes, carry small hand fans, use water facial spray, have cool drinks available, wear layers of clothing so you can take off what you need to when you are hot. Meanwhile, reports have it that many women suggested that more information should be made available on menopause to prepare women, educate family members and help reduce negative connotations and family conflict, especially with their spouses during the period of transition,  since experiences by many women had it that a loss of libido was often misinterpreted by their partners  that they were having an affair.
Also, information should be passed on by mothers and grannies to daughters.
It is therefore, suggested that community education may have more benefit if directed towards men as well as women.
Also reported are, that most health workers, especially in developing countries lack adequate resources or understanding on how to approach the topic or give appropriate advice to women.
A Rivers State Government Matron/Nurse in an interview stated that she has worked  as a nurse with the primary health care management board for several years, there are no such programmes for women on menopause.
According to her, “basically we deal with women on child bearing age, the partners we work with have not come out with such programmes. However, government should partner with menopause associations to help women in the state,” she said.
In a related interview, a medical doctor who works in a government hospital in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, stated that in developed countries government encourages women to go for regular check of their reproductive system at least once a year,  free of charge or some on discounts . In Nigeria, a lot of women are not aware of the transition to menopause and its implications, because they are nonchalant about their health status. The doctors are overstressed and cannot help in giving talks to women about menopause at every given opportunity. Another worrisome issue is that, some women lie about their age, some even take ten years off their normal age, which is a problem.
However, since 2009, the International Menopause Society  (IMS) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation(WHO) has designated October 18 every year to be celebrated as World Menopause Awareness Day. The purpose of the day is to raise awareness of menopause and support options available for improving health and well-being of women as they age.
This is an opportunity for the Rivers State  Ministry of Health and the  Women Affairs counterpart to partner with relevant associations and groups to sensitise  women in the urban and rural areas in the aspect of understanding  menopause, its attributes, symptoms, management and healthy ageing.

By: Ibinabo Ogolo

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Trending