Linking Sexual and Reproductive Health with Gender-Transformative Quality Public Services

A recent study by Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, a scholar from the Department of Public Law, University of Lagos, reveals the deep-seated impact of gender norms on sexual and reproductive health in Nigeria. With a high maternal mortality rate and low access to modern contraceptives, the research emphasizes the urgent need for transformative initiatives promoting women's health and gender equality.

Widespread gender stereotypes and socio-cultural norms negatively impact the provision of care, access to, and uptake of quality maternal and reproductive healthcare services in Nigeria such as family planning, antenatal care and contraceptive use. The WHO recognizes that gender norms pose a threat to the ability of exercising one’s human right, and can impact people’s health and their susceptibility to diseases, as well as the quality of their mental and physical wellbeing. Nigeria has a recorded high maternal mortality rate of 512 deaths per 100,000 live births3, accounting for about 19% of global maternal mortality burden, and far behind the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target of reducing maternal mortality to less than 70 per 100,000 births by 2030.