Martins Ifijeh

The Assistant Director, Reproductive Health and Family Planning, Pathfinder International, Dr. Habeeb Salami, has stated that family planning will save the lives of 111 women who die daily following pregnancy and child birth related issues.

He said investment in family planning (FP), would reduce the rate of women’s death by 30 per cent in Nigeria.

Addressing journalists during a media stakeholders meeting in Lagos recently, Salami said that 576 Nigerian women die out of 100,000 due to pregnancy and child birth related issues. .

Salami who regretted that pregnancy and child birth are natural process that should not take any life said: “That is why family planning is important. It gives the woman time to rest properly from child birth before the next pregnancy,” he stressed.

The family planning advocates said that the alarming figure of 111 women dying daily from pregnancy related issues can be blamed on five major causes of maternal mortality – hemorrhage, hypertension, infection, abortion complications and obstructed labour.

The reproductive health expert further urged women to embrace family planning so as to stay alive.

Expressing fears over Nigeria’s readiness to meet to meet the target of 27 per cent of Modern Contraceptive Prevalent Rate, (MCPR) by 2020, he said that the federal government would have to work with the state and local governments to secure complimentary budgets for family planning and reproductive health service delivery as well as meet the MCPR by 2020.

“In order for Nigeria to meet the target of 27 per cent of Modern Contraceptive Prevalent Rate, (MCPR) by 2020, the federal government will have to work with the state and local governments to secure complimentary budgets for family planning and reproductive health service delivery.

“The partnership which the federal government can adopt to improve the lives of women of reproductive age would involve private sector, civil society, traditional and religious institutions as well as development partners.

He further described the current CPR in the country as very low, bemoaning that this has been increasing unintended pregnancies, often resulting in unsafe abortions.

“The federal government has intensified the campaign to increase uptake of FP with the formulation of the new policy to increase the CPR to 36 per cent by 2030. The goal is to improve the CPR uptake with a view to tackling unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions.”

The Obstetrics and Gynaecology specialist blamed many state governments for stock out of contraceptive commodities, adding that their lack of commitments to making FP commodities available all year round was at the centre of the problem.

According to him, although, the federal government has paid for FP commodities, imported them and stored same at the Central Stores in Oshodi, Lagos, the failure of some state governments to transport the products to their states and point of delivery ultimately creates scarcity of same products that sometimes waste away at the Central Stores. “Federal government procurers all FP commodities and sends them to the Central Stores; the state governments don’t pay.

“It’s so bad that when the federal government procures and sends them to the Central Stores in Lagos, a lot of states have difficulties in picking them up from Lagos.

“The federal government goes the extra mile to send these products to state warehouses; yet, there are still challenges from the states to get these commodities from the state warehouses to the health facilities where they are needed. The federal government and its partners are still working on getting those commodities to facilities where they will be used

“The federal government has done so much that the states need to complement those efforts.

“Based on the federal government procurement, FP commodities in all states should be free. What a client that needs them is expected to do is simply walk into a FP clinic, discuss with the provider, agree on a method, they give it to the fellow and the person walks away.”

“However, the set back is that the states are not able to buy consumables including, cotton wools, gloves, all of which the providers need to deliver the services.

“These are the things that should be available which the states need to fund so as to ensure that FP services are provided free,” he said.

Speaking, representative of the Public Health Sustainable Advocacy Initiative, ( PHSAI), Mr. Chibuike Amaechi of said that the organisation’s aim is to increase access to family planning services and commodities in public as well as private hospitals in the state.

Amaechi urged the state government to provide family planning consumables which includes; syringe, plasta, cotton wool, methylated spirits to health centres as these are the barriers behind the uptake of family planning commodities.