Expert Tasks Journalists on Family Planning Advocacy for Women

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By Rebecca Ejifoma

The Senior Technical Advisor, John Hopkins University, Centre for Communications Programme and NURHI, Mrs. Charity Ibeawuchi, has urged Nigerian journalists to keep up with awareness report for women on regular use of family planning to help them become more productive in the homes, society, and nation.

Ibeawuchi said this at the one day Stakeholders Forum for the Media held at the Development for Communications (Devcoms) Initiative office in Lagos.

According to the organiser, Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) the forum aimed to review the activities of the initiative, scope of work, challenges, sustainability, and community Focus among others for effective reportage among media across the country.

“The NURHI 2 Project focuses on urban areas to promote the use of family planning, child birth spacing services in Nigeria,” she said.

According to NURHI, it spent the first five years of its initiative trying to change the behavior of Nigerian women of reproductive age, increasing opportunities for them, particularly those leaving in poor urban slums, who are deprived of family planning services to use and see family planning as a life saving investment.

Ibeawuchi continued: “That helped to increase the number of women with access to the services. We were able to increase modern family planning use, Contraceptive Prevalent Rate (CPR) from very low national 10%.”

She spoke further that the initiative achieved an average of 11.5% increase in six Nigerian cities: Abuja FCT, Ibadan, Ilorin, Kaduna, Zaria, and Benin.

“That is a remarkable improvement”, she noted.

Meanwhile, for more awareness creation in the use of modern contraceptive, Ibeawuchi commended the health journalists on the family planning advocacy group, describing them as the true advocates.

“The media – print and electronics – played a very important role in this. It used a household word ‘Get it together, no dulling, know about family planning, talk about family planning, go for family planning services’,” she said.

For the benefits of the users, she listed convincing reasons women should continue and increase their use of family planning methods. “It prevents child mortality, promotes the health of the child, and reduces their death by 25%”.

Accordingly, the expert emphasised that when a woman uses family planning, she gives birth to a child at her desired time; when pregnancy is needed and wanted, and loved.

The senior technical adviser explained further that with the use of family planning, babies are well breastfed. “You can breastfeed your child for two years or one. By the time you have the next one, the older one would be three years. Mother and child would be healthy”.

Ibeawuchi further advocated that use of family planning opens more opportunities for women in the economy.

“When a woman uses family planning, she will have an opportunity; more time to even engage in economic enterprise, even to engage in politics because we want affirmative action for women, so family planning is healthy, and it increases the quality of life of every family,” she added.