By Gabriel Olawale
Chairman, National Population Commission, Mr. Eze Duruiheoma (SAN) says there is need to look at family planning beyond saving lives but as instrument for empowering people and developing nations.
Duruiheoma said family planning prevents unintended pregnancies and in turn reduces health risks at childbirth and recourse of unsafe abortions.
“But increase the right of women and girls to decide freely and for themselves, on whether, when and how many children to have, afford women and girls more opportunities to become wage earners, thereby boosting family income levels.
Speaking ahead of the 2017 World Population Day theme, ‘Family Planning, Birth Spacing: Empowering people, Developing Nations’ Duruiheoma explained that as women gain access to reproductive resources, they report better health outcome and achieve higher levels of education and experience a low incidence of intimate-partner violence.
He said family planning which is included in Sustainable Development Goals can help in achieving other goals, “achieving many of the goals depends in part on the ability of women to exercise their reproductive rights.
“Universal access to voluntary family planning can reduce maternal deaths by a third, and child deaths by as much as 20 percent. In 2016, contraceptives provided by UNFPA had the potential to prevent 11.7 million unintended pregnancies, close 3.7 million unsafe abortions and prevent an estimated 29,000 maternal deaths.
“Data from 2013 Nigeria Demographic Health Survey, NDHS, reveals that unmet need for family planning is currently 16 percent among married women. Knowledge of contraception is widespread in Nigeria, 85 percent of women and 95 percent of men report knowing about I contraceptive method. However, only 15 percent of currently married women use a contraceptive method, an increase of only two percent point from the 2003 NDHS.