Prof. Friday Okonofua, Leader, Centre of Excellence in Reproductive Health Innovation, CERHI, University of Benin said on Thursday that yearly Africa loses $1 billion to gender inequality.
Mr Okonofua said this in Benin while briefing newsmen on the activities of the Centre in 2021.
Mr Okonofua attributed the loss to poor representation of women in every sphere of socio-economic life in the region, including politics, governance and management.
He decried the stepping down of the Gender Equality Bill by the National Assembly and expressed his willingness to educate the parliamentarians on the benefits of such a law.
According to him, CERHI is keen to promote gender balance and other interventions areas such as maternal mortality, family planning and infertility.
He said CERHI was one of the 10 World Bank-approved Centres in Nigeria to implement high quality training and research towards tackling the nation’s population and reproductive health challenges.
As a result of this, he said CERHI had undertaken various post-graduate programmes in reproductive and family health, nursing sciences, health economics and short courses at the University of Benin.
“Nigeria currently has one of the worst indicators relating to reproductive health and mortality rate. However, woman is supposed to get pregnant and deliver without dying during the process.
“Statistics have shown that in the whole world, Nigeria is second to India in the highest number of deaths during pregnancy.
“In Nigeria 45,000 women die annually during pregnancy or childbirth, the causes are not due to medical reasons but adverse social circumstances.
“These include lack of information, lack of access to quality healthcare and emergency care due to the inability to access hospitals,” he said.
The professor of gynecology and obstetrics urged the media to help in providing public health information to the people.
He said that access to the right information could solve 50 per cent of public health issues in the country.
The medical researcher said it was unfortunate that many sexually active women in the country would not want to be pregnant, yet they would not subscribe to family planning method.
Such practice, he said would lead many to procure unsafe abortion if they become pregnant.
The don said the Centre would intensify research in all fields of reproductive health and public health information dissemination.