As Nigeria continues to work round the clock to ensure better health care for all and to improve the country’s health sector, the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, has said that adequate family planning has the capacity to reduce maternal deaths in the country by at least 30%.
Mamora stated this on Thursday at the media launch of the National Family Planning Campaign by the Rotary Action Group for Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health (RMCH), and also hinted that Nigeria is still leading in maternal deaths globally.
According to him, 512 women die for every 100,000 live births in the country, noting that the statistics is not acceptable.
“Family planning is an important intervention for promoting proper timing and spacing of pregnancies as well as assisting to achieve pregnancies where challenges exist.
“It also promotes maternal and child survival with a potential for reducing maternal and child mortality and morbidity by 30 per cent,” he said.
Mamora said several challenges are significantly impeding progress towards the achievement of Nigeria’s modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) of 27% by year 2024.
The minister also said the most glaring of the challenges is poor funding for family planning.
He said, “Some of the challenges include inadequate financing for family planning at all levels or delayed release of Federal Government of Nigeria’s counterpart funds for the procurement of contraceptive commodities, inadequate funding for Monitoring and Supportive Supervision activities as well as poor state commitment and support for last mile distribution of Family Planning commodities.
“Other challenges include myths and misconceptions and inadequate male involvement in family planning activities.”
Also speaking at the launch, the national coordinator, RMCH project, Emmanuel Lufadeju, said Nigeria’s population is 200 million and by 2050, the population will double.
Lufadeju said 60% of the population is below the age of 25 years, revealing that only 5% is above 60 years of age.
He said over 90% of women of child bearing age is aware of the use of contraceptives, unfortunately only 15% of them is using it.
“So our campaign is directed to how to convince women of child bearing age to space their children, make them enjoy better quality by avoiding risky pregnancies,” he said.
Lufadeju explained that most poor countries in the world are the ones having high population hence the need for Nigeria to rusticate itself from this group.
“We must create a high public awareness campaign to be able to convince our people that there is nothing wrong with contraceptives.
“They are approved and used all over the world,” he said.
The national coordinator also said there is a need to promote access to contraceptives because there are many hard to reach communities in Nigeria.
Similarly, Mamora said the ministry is collaborating with development partners to build synergy towards provision of quality family planning information services for prevention of unintended pregnancies as well as for the prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS.
He also said the media must get more deeply involved in disseminating accurate information on family planning issues to rapidly address the barriers to access to family planning information and services.
“Hence, the Family Planning Media Campaign Launch could not have come at a better time as the country faces challenges that threaten the health and social well-being of women, children, adolescent boys and girls and the vulnerable groups,” he said.