Saraki, Others Back Family Planning as Nigeria Marks World Population Day

  • .As Akeredolu canvasses for population control

Ademola Babalola, Ibadan and Rebecca Ejiforma, Lagos

As Nigeria joined the rest of the world to commemorate the year 2017 World Population Day, Stakeholders have called for Increase in the budget allocation for Family Planning by government at all levels.

This development, according to them, is a strategy to control and avert the implication of rapid population growth in order to achieve sustainable development goals.

The above was the position of family planning experts as Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark 2017 World Population Day (WPD) last Tuesday.

Speaking on the 2017 WPD theme, ‘Family Planning, Birth Spacing: Empowering People, Developing Nations’, in a release by National Population Commission (NPC), its Chairman, Chief Eze Duruiheoma, stated that family planning and birth spacing are measures to attain a sustainable family size by way of allowing for adequate intervals between births, employing especially the use of contraception.

Duruiheoma said that, “Family planning is not only about saving lives but also empowering people and developing nations. Family and birth spacing are personal decisions but their profound implication on health, economic and social well-being of the society are far reaching. That is why simple individual decision has become a developmental agenda that must be addressed on a sustainable.”

In a statement made available to THISDAY by founder of Wellbeing Foundation, Mrs. Toyin Saraki, “Family planning information and contraception is a fundamental human right, empowering women to decide when and where to have a child, and how many children they wish to bear, according to their circumstances, we recommend that mothers space their childbirth by 1000 days, to better sustain the health and socio-economic well-being of mother, child and family.”

However to provide family planning services, governments have therefore been urged to increase funding for Family Planning and ensure increase in budgetary allocations for FP/CBS in the state to cover consumables, supplies and infrastructure, commodity , logistics, management, training of skilled providers and demand creation.

Nigeria’s population is expected to surpass that of the U.S. by 2050, according to new UN projections that predict the West African country could be the world’s third most populous by the end of this century.

The 2013 NDHS results indicate that on average Nigerian women give birth to 5.5 children by end of their childbearing years, meanwhile the goal of the National Policy on Population for SDG is to achieve a reduction in the total fertility rate of at least 0.6 children every five years (National Population Commission, 2004).

In a statement reiterated by the Lagos State Team Leader of the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative, NURHI, Dr. Omasanjuwa Edun has said family planning was designed to help families have quality lives contrary to speculations that it was instituted to discourage procreation.

Meanwhile, the wife of Ondo State Governor, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu has affirmed the importance of family planning in a keynote address she gave at an event organised by the Ondo State Primary Health Care Development Board and National Population Commission in collaboration with the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) to mark 2017 World Population Day.

She said: “We cannot continue to say children are a gift from God and continue to subject our women to untold hardship. We need to begin to educate our people on the need to sit down and reason with our mothers and girl-child. How do we value our women? Do we value them as a piece of furniture or do we value them as jewels of inestimable value? Men, how about looking at our women and girl children as a jewel of inestimable value and ensure that your wife stays alive to raise your children? She queried while also charging women also to become aware of their rights.

She said the issue of population growth gives rise to poverty among others, adding that institutions must rise up to the challenge of creating awareness on need for adequate family planning.