A Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) – Plan International (PI) Nigeria, has advised the Federal Government to pay adequate attention to concerns of the poor, voiceless and vulnerable, especially women, adolescent girls in its containment and mitigation policies, systems and actions.
It also called on the federal government to decentralise Covid-19 testing centres to all the states of the federation, and to, as a matter of urgency, give accelerated accreditation to diagnostic centres and private hospitals that have the capacity to test for Covid-19.
The organization made its position known in a Policy Brief issues on the pandemic titled “COVID-19: The need for an Inclusive ‘People-Centric’ Approach.”
In a statement, Country Director of Plan International Nigeria, Dr. Hussaini Abdu, applauded the renewed commitment by the federal and states governments and encouraging private sector interest in tackling the COVID-19 challenge through the imposition of movement restrictions and social distancing.
“In the face of stringent response by the government to the pandemic, it is critical that all containment and mitigation policies, systems and actions pay adequate attention to concerns of the poor, voiceless and vulnerable, especially women, adolescent girls.
“Central to this response is the protection of the rights of people, especially children, adolescent girls, IDPs, migrant communities, minorities, the poor and vulnerable to their rights to life and dignity,” Abdu said.
He, particularly, advocated for the protection of children, girls and women who often are more at risk in emergency situations.
“It is important to recognise that violence against women and girls (including intimate partner violence) tends to increase during emergencies.
“The COVID-19 response must therefore provide mechanisms to ensure adequately resourced, accessible and context sensitive essential services to address gender-based violence (GBV).
“This can be done in collaboration and support from NGOs who have capacity and experience in GBV response,” Abdu stressed.
While calling on development partners to re-program existing funding to support the COVID-19 response, Abdu said: “These corporate bodies and individuals should also consider extending their support through NGOs and other Civil Society groups who have direct access and links to the vulnerable communities to avoid the bureaucracy and possible abuses associated with government-led actions.
“The lock-down in cities and major informal market centres will further compound the condition of these groups.
“It is therefore important for the government to invest and support the livelihoods of the poor and the vulnerable groups.”