By Ikenna Osuoha
Experts on Family Planning (FP) on Thursday advocated increased use of contraceptives and other family planning services for Nigeria to achieve Demographic Dividend.
They made the call during a Webinar hosted in Abuja on Family Planning Policy Dialogue with the theme: “Domestic Resource Mobilisation for sustained family planning services in Nigeria.”
Prof Emmanuel Lufadeju, Co-Founder, Rotary Action Group for Reproductive Maternal and Child Health, in his keynote address decried the rapid increase in the county’s population with attendant economic and social challenges.
Lufadeju said that it was imperative to make contraceptive use a priority in the country for a decline in Fertility Rate (FR).
The university don who reiterated call for reduction in FR, called for massive advocacy to involve private sectors in the funding for family planning.
“Both counterpart funding and family planning services have suffered reduction.
“We have a target to meet 27 per cent Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) by 2024,” he said.
He also identified better use of taxation as well as elimination of corruption as vital in raising funds for family planning.
Lufadeju emphasised the need to dispense contraceptives through market women and other informal outlets.
Ms Ulla Mueller, Country Representative, UN Population Fund (UNFPA), stressed the need for budget prioritisation for family planning.
Mueller who decried the country’s Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) of 12 per cent, called for intensified efforts to increase priorities for family planning.
She explained that UNFPA was committed to assisting Nigeria achieve Demographic Dividend as demonstrated in their report entitled “My body, My own.”
The UNFPA Country Representative expressed the determination of UNFPA to promoting women’s autonomy and rights to healthcare and family planning.
Dr Olumide Okunola, Programme Lead, Health in Africa (HIA), said that a collective efforts for a decline in fertility rate was key to navigating to Demographic Dividend.
Okunola explained that a decline in fertility rate would not only enhance the individual wellbeing of women but the economic wellbeing of the citizens.
He identified poor funding and economic hardship as the greatest challenges impeding access to family planning in Nigeria.
According to him, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is still very low.
Mr Effiom Effiom, Country Director, Marie Stopes International, blamed the unmet needs of family planning on COVID-19 as well as a decline in funding.
Effiom called for more funding for family planning in order to give women access to family planning services aimed at leaving no woman behind.
Ms Toyin Chukwudozie, Head of Programmes, Education as a Vaccine, said that a decline in contraceptive usage was capable of leading to unplanned pregnancies and unsafe abortions as well as deaths especially among the young people.
Chukwudozie said that low contraceptive prevalence rate could result to disrupted education of the young people as well as sexually transmitted infections.
Dr Ejike Oji, Chairman Technical Management Committee, Association for Advancement of Family Planning (AAFP), called for engagement of policy makers on the importance of family planning.
Oji who noted that the country was in demographic crisis, said that most successful family planning services were policy driven.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Family Planning conference was organised by Nigeria Health Watch (NHW). (NAN)