Plan International Ghana has launched a Sexual and Reproductive Health Right/Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SRHR/SGBV) campaign as part of activities towards the implementation of its “COVID-19 Gender Emergency Response Programme”.
The campaign is to ensure access to SRHR services as well as to protect the vulnerable groups, especially women and girls from SGBV, in the midst of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Mr Kamaldeen Iddrisu, the District Development Coordinator, Upper West Regional Programme Unit of Plan International Ghana, speaking at the launch of the campaign in Wa at the weekend, said issues of SGBV and child abuse were on the increase in the face of COVID-19.
“In spite of the COVID-19, issues of Sexual and Gender Based Violence, child abuse, sexual exploitation and neglect are also on the increase,” he said.
He said the Upper West Programme Unit developed the Emergency Gender Response programme to protect the welfare of vulnerable and deprived children, especially girls.
Mr Iddrisu explained that Plan International Ghana had been at the forefront in supporting the government in the fight against the pandemic.
He said as part of the support, they donated an amount of GHC50,000.00 to the National COVID-19 Fund and another GHC20,000.00 to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in the early days of the pandemic.
Mr Iddrisu added that the NGO also supported Kayaye girls with assorted items including sanitary pads and baby diapers when they were stranded during the restriction period.
He said his outfit, with support from ‘Days for Girls’ an NGO, had engaged 50 girls in Wa and Sissala East Municipalities, Wa West, Wa East and Sissala West Districts to produce reusable face mask and sanitary pad during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Damien Punguyire, the Acting Upper West Regional Director of Health Services, commended Plan Ghana for its role in ensuring access to adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health services in the Region.
“I have already witnessed a lot of efforts that Plan Ghana has put in place to support the fight against this pandemic… and support in rolling out public sensitisation on adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health,” he explained.
Dr. Punguyire indicated that factors such as stigma, misinformation and fear among others, militated against efforts towards fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and called for concerted efforts towards winning the fight.
Inspector Stella Niabi, a station officer at the Upper West Regional Domestic and Victim Support Unit (DOVSU) said there were reported cases of abuse of women in the Region during the COVID-19 lockdown period.
“During the lockdown period, male drivers were not able to travel so the pressure was on their wives. Their wives saw that it was too much for them and some denied their husbands sex and the men in turn beat their wives,” she explained.