Martins Ifijeh

A recent survey by the Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020-Nigeria (PMA2020-NG) has revealed that Lagos rich women are more likely to use family planning methods than Lagos Poor women.

These family planning methods include the modern system, including pills, condoms, injectables, intrauterine devices (IUDs) & implants and the traditional system, which includes withdrawal and periodic abstinence.

The survey results were disseminated on 25 October at the Lagos State Ministry of Health chaired by the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, and attended by over 40 family planning stakeholders in the state, showed that 33 per cent of married women in Lagos State aged 15-49 years were using a family planning method. But the poorest women were more than twice as likely as the richest women to report that they were not using a family planning method, even though they wished to postpone their next birth for at least two years.

According to a member of the survey team, Dr. Funmi Olaolorun, the poor women have an unmet need for family planning.

“These disparities between the rich and the poor are of concern, given the state of the Nigerian economy and the obvious fact that those who can least afford an unplanned pregnancy due to their economic status will be the most likely to have one if they remain sexually active and do nothing to avoid becoming pregnant.

‘The challenge for the Lagos State government and family planning stakeholders is to find a way to financially assist these poor women to access the family planning methods of their choice, so they can decide (along with their partners) if and when to have children. This is essential because despite the widespread information that contraception is free, the survey showed that 1 in 10 public facilities and 7 in 10 private facilities charge for family planning services.

She said the involvement of the government in particular will ensure that the socioeconomic disadvantage of these poorest women does not push them into further poverty following the addition of another child that they cannot afford to properly look after.

PMA2020 is a quick turn-around mobile-assisted survey that collects data on a regular basis to monitor performance towards the Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) goal of reaching 120 million additional women and girls in the poorest countries with life-saving contraceptives.

The survey is the third of its kind conducted in Lagos state, and was led by the Centre for Research, Evaluation Resources and Development (CRERD) and Bayero University Kano (BUK).