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UNFPA highlights health, rights of women, girls on World Population Day

  • Published at 12:19 pm July 12th, 2020
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The UN agency, together with the Department of Population Sciences, University of Dhaka (DPSDU), organized a webinar

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has highlighted the health and rights of women and girls amidst the Covid-19 pandemic in observance of the World Population Day 2020.

The UN agency, together with the Department of Population Sciences, University of Dhaka (DPSDU), organized a webinar named “Putting the brakes on Covid-19: how to safeguard the health and rights of women and girls”, said a UNFPA press release on Sunday.

During the webinar, UNFPA’s flagship annual publication – the State of World Population Report 2020 – was also highlighted.

Several key figures spoke at the webinar.

The chief guest, MP Fazilatun Nessa Indira, highlighted the necessity of upholding human rights of women and girls amidst the coronavirus pandemic. She stated the importance of conducting comprehensive and cross-sectoral programming based on a proper assessment of preventive and protection needs of women and girls during the crisis.

Professor Dr Md. Akhtaruzzaman, vice chancellor of the University of Dhaka, outlined the greater risks caused by Covid-19, such as the deepening of pre-existing inequalities and vulnerabilities in social, political, and economic systems, where women and girls are most at risk.

Screenshot taken from the webinar | CourtesyProfessor Dr Sadeka Halim, dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Dhaka, focused on the crucial importance of reflecting gender equity and following a rights-based approach while ensuring that the health care related needs, financial incentives, and other socio-cultural aspects are met during the Covid-19 crisis.

“It is imperative for us to safeguard the health and rights of women and girls. Sexual and reproductive health and addressing gender-based violence, requires urgent and sustained attention and investment,” said Dr Asa Torkelsson, UNFPA representative in Bangladesh.

Keynote presentations that provided further insight into the need to defy harmful practices against women and girls and on how to safeguard the rights of women and girls were also presented by Professor Dr Mohammad Mainul Islam and Professor Dr Mohammad Bellal, both from the Department of Population Sciences, University of Dhaka.

In the panel discussion that followed the presentations, participants, including members of parliament, representatives from Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, academia, civil society, development partners, NGOs, and media, reflected on the necessity and mechanisms of protecting and safeguarding health and rights of women and girls in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.