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Home » Health » Nigeria: Police Accused of Raiding Family Planning Clinic

Nigeria: Police Accused of Raiding Family Planning Clinic

Activists in Nigeria have accused police officers of raiding a Marie Stopes clinic in Lagos on May 21. The officers reportedly “harassed the health workers and patients and took away confidential client information”.

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Marie Stopes Nigeria opened its first clinic in 2009, and describes itself as “becoming one of the few providers of long-acting and permanent contraception in the country”.

“We estimate that more than 10% of women now using contraception in Nigeria were provided with their method by us,” their website says.

The United Nations Population Fund’s 2019 world population report places Nigeria’s population on a new high of 201 million.

The organisations that signed the statement include Education as a Vaccine, Women’s Rights and Health Project, Women’s Crisis Centre, 9jafeminista , NoMore Campaign and the Nigerian Feminist Forum, and say that the clinic’s efforts “supporting the government in making sure Nigeria can achieve the targets to reduce morbidity and mortality, which means improving the health and well-being of women and girls in Nigeria. We should be celebrating their efforts, not intimidating them.”

Full statement:

End The War on Nigerian Women!

On Tuesday, May 21st, Police officers raided a Marie Stopes Clinic in Lagos, harassed the health workers and patients and took away confidential client information. Marie Stopes offers free and affordable family planning services to women and men, pregnancy tests, pre- and post-natal care, treatment and services for sexually transmitted infections (STI), HIV testing and ultrasound and laboratory services.

They have trained staff who offer counselling and treatment especially to those who cannot afford the costs at private hospitals. To raid a centre that provides such services is sending a message to women and girls as well as men and boys that they are not safe in health centres and that they don’t deserve access to quality health services without fear or judgement.

This is happening in a country that contributes 10% to the global burden of maternal deaths ranking fourth after Sierra Leone, Chad and the Central African Republic. Safe spaces where women can access confidential and non-judgemental sexual and reproductive health services are vital and we don’t have enough of them to reduce the risk of maternal deaths.

Just before the raid in Lagos yesterday, the Minister of Health was testifying before the Nigerian Senate about the overburdened health system, the deplorable state of General Hospitals in the country and the need to revitalize the tertiary and primary health care system in Nigeria. Women and girls are dying from preventable deaths because of lack of access to quality sexual and reproductive health services.

Recently released NDHS 2018 data state: “Unmet need for family planning declined from 20% in 2008 to 16% in 2013 before increasing to 19% in 2018.” Family planning is the conscious choice by people to limit or space the number of children they have through the use of contraception.

And 19% of married women in Nigeria have an unmet need for family planning services, according to the survey. Marie Stopes shouldn’t be punished for offering a spectrum of services, including family planning, to those who need and want it, especially women, married and unmarried.

The work being done by organisations like Marie Stopes is necessary to dispel myths, provide counselling on the right modern method of birth control and help women and men space their children.

The National Strategic Health Development Plan 2018 – 2022 recognizes the importance of this work, which is why one of its pillars is to “Promote universal access to comprehensive quality sexual and reproductive health services throughout the life cycle and reduce maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent morbidity and mortality in Nigeria.”

Marie Stopes’ work is supporting the government in making sure Nigeria can achieve the targets to reduce morbidity and mortality, which means improving the health and well-being of women and girls in Nigeria. We should be celebrating their efforts, not intimidating them.

Ten percent (10%) of maternal deaths in Nigeria is due to unsafe abortion. Access to safe abortion is restricted in Nigeria, and can only take place in circumstances where a woman’s life is at risk. Even though safe abortion services are restricted, access to post-abortion care (a service for women and girls who have medical complication as a result of unsafe abortion) is not restricted.

Nigerian laws and policies uphold women and girls’ rights to post-abortion services, a much needed service that Marie Stopes provides. Services providers who are implementing these policies and guidelines should not be subjected to harassment and intimidation for performing their jobs. These healthcare workers are providing care and saving lives; actions that should be praised and promoted.

These efforts to demonize and block access to legal services are being funded in Nigeria by a Spanish organisation called CitizenGO. CitizenGo is a partner to an SPLC designated hate group World Congress of Families and the city of Madrid has banned their activities calling their campaigns hate based.

CitizenGo and its extremist partners have been organising trainings in Nigeria and Kenya within the past 18 months, trying to block women’s access to critical healthcare. They should not be allowed to instigate the harassment of women making informed choices about their health, and health workers who are provided life-affirming services. They are an intolerant group and they are bringing their hate mongering to Nigeria.

This group has set-up camp in Nigeria and are propagating false and unfounded sensational narratives in places like Enugu, Imo, and Nairobi under the guise of religious and moral obligations. They must not be allowed to instigate hate and oppression in Nigeria and the rest of Africa. This is a coordinated attack on the rights of women, girls, and marginalized persons and we must say NO to their oppressive tactics.

Signed

  1. Education as a Vaccine
  2. Nigerian Feminist Forum
  3. Alliances for Africa
  4. Women’s Crisis Centre
  5. Project Alert
  6. Vision Springs Initiative
  7. The Initiative for Equal Rights
  8. Women’s Health and Equal Rights Initiative
  9. Equality Hub
  10. Ake Arts and Book Festival
  11. NoMore Campaign
  12. Above Whispers
  13. 9jafeminista
  14. Stand to End Rape
  15. International Centre for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights
  16. Autamaimasa Health Foundation
  17. Drug Free and Preventative Healthcare Organization
  18. Women’s Rights and Health Project
  19. Iheoma Obibi
  20. Olabukunola Williams
  21. Fadekemi Akinfaderin
  22. Maream S. Muhammad
  23. OluTimehin Adegbeye
  24. Lesley Agams
  25. Ayodele Olofintuade
  26. Akudo Oguaghamba
  27. Josephine Chukwuma
  28. Lola Shoneyin
  29. Ngozi Juba
  30. Manre Chirtau
  31. Pamela Adie
  32. Bisi Fayemi
  33. Azeenarh Mohammed
  34. Funmi Juba
  35. Ireti Bakare
  36. Hauwa Shekarau
  37. Wana Udobang
  38. Charmaine Pereira
  39. Fisayo Owoyemi
  40. Amy Oyekunle
  41. Oluchi Ogwuegbu
  42. Itoro Eze-Anaba
  43. Karo Omu
  44. Chioma Ogwuegbu
  45. Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi
  46. Uche Umolu
  47. Oseyi Etomi
  48. Sylvia Ekponimo
  49. Rita Musa
  50. Chika Ibeh
  51. Toyin Chukwudozie
  52. Otibho Obianwu
  53. Omolara Oriye
  54. Chibogu Obinwa
  55. Bose Ironsi
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This article is for informational/educational purposes only. Healthtian does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, read more.

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