Disturbing news out of Nigeria: of the 234 women recently rescued by the Nigerian army after being abducted by Boko Haram last year, a staggering number of them—214—are pregnant.
Reports International Business Times:
Boko Haram militants have kidnapped more than 2,000 women and girls since the beginning of last year, many of whom were forced into sexual slavery and trained to fight, Amnesty International said last month. Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), told Vanguard in Lagos the organization had seen more than 16,000 pregnancies and deliveries in northeast Nigeria in the past year.
“In conflict and disasters, most people would only think of water and sanitation, provisions of tents and housing and food, which are all important. But women and girls have specific needs that nobody else looks after; it is only UNFPA that is doing this,” Osotimehin told Vanguard on Monday. “We will always have pregnant women, but nobody segregates the needs of the pregnant women, which are very important and different from the needs of the average community. We look after them and ensure they get antenatal care and that they deliver properly and that they even get cesarean section when necessary.”
In addition to medical care and shelter, the UNFPA and Nigerian army are working to provide the women and girls with counseling and “psychosocial” support.
Image via AP