Despite the obvious benefits of family planning to healthcare and the economy, the Lagos State government has continued to release too little to tackle issues around child spacing.
The 2018 Family Planning Budget Performance Scorecard seen by THISDAY recently, shows that the family planning need for Lagos last year was N1.3 billion, but the state allocated only N117,500,000, and released only N9,900,000 for the healthcare intervention.
The scorecard shows that general government allocation for family planning as a percent of total funding need amounted to 1.35 per cent, while the percentage of general government budget allocation to family planning release as scheduled amounted to 5.57 per cent.
These and other factors cumulatively put the general performance of the government expenditure on family planning at 0.75 per cent.
The scorecard was developed by the Public Health Sustenance Advocacy Initiative (PHSAI) using analysis of budget and policy documents.
Speaking during a media dialogue on family planning to mark the World Contraception Day 2019 in Lagos recently, organised by PHSAI in collaboration with Pathfinder International Nigeria, the Chairman, PHSAI, Ayo Adebusoye said while Lagos has made a relative progress on the amount allocated to family planning, the concern however remains the actual money released for its implementation.
According to him, Lagos is one of the first to have specific budget line for family planning, as against development partners who usually champion the drive.
He said: “Now that the state has that budget line, we are hoping it actually starts releasing budgeted funding for it.
“Considering the huge population of Lagos State, family planning is very important to both the health and the economy of the people.
“Local governments in the state have no excuse not to increase family planning budget and release, because they now get monies directly from the federal government.
“We need to work innovatively, using strategies and alliances so that we can improve the family planning space in Lagos State.”
The World Health Organisation says family planning allows individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births, and that this should be achieved through use of contraceptive methods and the treatment of involuntary infertility.
The Senior Reproductive Health Officer, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Mrs. Idowu Okanlawon said majority of Lagos residents were aware of family planning, but that uptake still remains low, adding that men should be involved in the intervention to drive it faster.
The Communication and Media Officer, Pathfinder International Nigeria, Somto Atuanya said she was glad that some states were getting involved in family planning, but that more push was still needed to be done to meet global target.
“We are presently working in 12 states to push the agenda. Family planning commodities are given free, but a lot of women are still not able to access them.
“Access here also includes inability to pay for it in places where providers sell them. We need to do more in tackling the hurdles to family planning uptake,” she stressed.