COVID-19: Early pregnancies, marriages, female dropouts looming, says NPC

Edward Nnachi, Abakaliki

 As the negative aftermaths of the COVID-19 pandemic rage across the globe, the National Population Commission, on Friday, said massive early pregnancies, marriages and  female dropout were looming in the country.

 The commission equally said there would be heightened cases of early marriage, high fertility, morbidity, maternal mortality, unsafe abortions, among others, after the pandemic.

 The Ebonyi State Director of the commission, Mr Edward Ogbu, stated this on Friday, in Abakaliki, the state capital, during a press briefing to mark this year’s World Population Day, with the theme, Putting the Brakes on COVID-19: How to Safeguard the Health and Rights of Women and Girls Now.

 He noted that because of continued absence of school session in the country, many girls would likely drop out, early marriages. He added that this could lead to high fertility and morbidity in the country.

 Ogbu, who represented the Federal Commissioner of the NPC, from the state, Mr Darlington Okereke, explained that COVID-19 had increased Gender-Based Violence on girls and women in society.

 He said, “In the absence of schooling, more girls are likely to drop out of schools and other consequences could include early marriage and high fertility, morbidity and maternal mortality, abortion, VVF, low self-esteem at attending to personal healthcare.

 “Another effect of COVID-19 on women and girls is the noticeable increase in gender-based violence ranging from rape, physical and emotional assault, some of which have resulted in the loss of lives.”

 “Recent reportage revealed that GBV transcended age, economic, educational, ethic classification of victims and more often women and girls are the victims.”