Lagos — A gynaecologist, Dr Juliet Offor, yesterday said the practice of family planning and healthy child spacing would help in reducing maternal and infant mortality in the country.
Offor told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos, that family planning had been recognised as one of the most effective ways of reducing maternal deaths arising from preventable causes.
Offor, who works at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, said that women who practise family planning could avoid high-risk births and avoid having a baby that would die in infancy.
She said: “Unhealthy child spacing and having too many children have contributed to maternal and infant mortality rates in the country.
“Babies born less than two years after a prior birth are much more likely than those born after a longer interval, to be premature and die in their infancy.
“Infants of mothers who die as a result of giving birth also have a greater risk of poor health and dying in infancy.”
The gynaecologist said that many middle aged poor women suffer from anaemia, malnutrition and damage to their reproductive systems from frequent childbearing.
She said that without family planning, the conditions increased the likelihood of having a baby who would die in infancy.
According to her, family planning allowed a woman to choose when to become pregnant and determine the number of children she will have.
The gynaecologist also commented that family planning relieved the parents of financial stress of caring for a large family size.
“Women who embrace and practise family planning are able to have healthy child spacing and prevent ill-timed pregnancies and births.
“It provides the woman the opportunity to pursue a career and have a paid employment.
“Also, having smaller families allows parents to invest more in each child, and it will reduce the number of children that are out of school due to financial constraints”.
Offor, while calling for easy access and proper education on the various methods of family planning, urged men to be supportive of their wives in accessing the facilities.
She also called for the continued sensitisation of religious leaders and the general public to help resolve myths and prejudice about family planning.