More Nigerian families embrace contraceptives, family planning

More Nigerians are beginning to opt for the use of contraceptives and family planning items leading the scarcity of contraceptives in health facilities.

This is contained in the Family Planning Watch, a survey jointly coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Health and Society for Health with the support of Population Study International.

During the FP National Dissemination Agenda held in Abuja, the survey warned that if not checked, the challenge would not only affect the well being of Nigerians negatively, it would also prevent the country from meeting its Family Planning 2020 target.

The Chief Strategist Technical Officer, SFH, Dr. Jennifer Anyanti, in an interview with journalists, said one way the Federal Government could tackle dearth of Family Planning products was to collaborate with private facility owners.

She said, “One thing that we did consider with the government is maybe, if there can be a way the government can partner CSOs and NGOs that own health facilities, say okay, we will give you the FP products free.

“But you will help us with data that we can use to make decisions. We can also tell the private sector to charge a certain subsidised amount so that many of the women can patronise private facilities without having to go far.”

Nigeria is said to have the seventh largest population in the world and has fertility rate of 5.5, meaning an average family in the productive stage will have five or six children.

A professor of Obstetrics/Gynaecology and Country Director, Jhpiego Corporation, Emmanuel Otolorin, said complications, arising from illegal abortions also contributed to the rate of maternal mortality in Nigeria.

He said, “Each year, Nigerian women obtain approximately 610,000 abortions, a rate of 25 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44.”

This, according to him, means that girls are having unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, which could be avoided through the use of contraceptives or any suitable family planning commodity or at best through abstinence.

Speaking on the occasion, the Director, Head of Reproductive Health Division at the FMoH, Dr. Kayode Afolabi, said the use of family planning commodities had curbed over three million unwanted pregnancies while at the same time averting over 19,000 maternal deaths between 2011 and 2015.

He urged stakeholders to continue to invest in family planning as it would bring good returns after all.

“The total cost of investment in contraceptives in this period was US$57.149m, which had the potential of saving the government of about US$641m; an eleven fold return on investment,” Afolabi stated.

Source: Punch Newspaper

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