By Chioma Onuegbu
UYO—Akwa Ibom State Government has expressed its readiness to partner Action Health Incorporated, AHI, to scale up an injectable family planning method, Depot Medroxy Progesterone Acetate-SC (Sayana Press), in the state.
Speaking at a consultative meeting of stakeholders in Uyo, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, said the observed strong preference by many women of reproductive age in the state to Sayana Press informed the need to sustain and scale up the project.
Ukpong, who was represented by the Director of Public Health, Dr. Godwin Ebuk, commended the Action Health Incorporated and other key stakeholders for their readiness and willingness to partner the state in the delivery of effective health care.
He said: “It is worthy of note that many of our women have switched over from other methods of family planning to DMPA-SC injectables (Sayana Press) and this has led to decreasing maternal mortality and morbidity in the state. We, therefore, hope to scale up the method in the state by extending it to the remaining 25 local government areas.
“Akwa Ibom is poised to procure DMPA-SC and other relevant family planning commodities through Saving One Million Lives programme for effective family planning services in the state.”
The business of family planning remains unfinished despite great progress recorded over the last decade”
The Commissioner for Health expressed concern that many women in the state using family planning to prevent pregnancy fail to achieve their goals for a variety of reasons such as lack of knowledge about contraception, fear of partner opposition, social disapproval, either religious or cultural beliefs; worries of side effects; lack of clear instructions on methods, and how to use the methods properly among others.
“In Akwa Ibom State has 18.3 percent Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) And what this implies is that our women are still having unmet needs for family planning. Moreover adolescent young girls and boys are attaining sexual maturity early on daily basis.These challenges points to the fact that people really need better help”
Presenting the DMPA-SC project materials and injectables to the state government the AHI programme officer, Stella Soneye disclosed that a total of thirteen thousand, six hundred and eighteen (13, 618) women of reproductive age had been administered with Sayana Press in the ongoing efforts to scale up the delivery of quality family planning services project in the country.
According to her Uyo, the participants were drawn from six local government areas of Uyo, Uruan, Abak, Itu, Mbo and Oron.
“In Nigeria efforts to contribute to achievements of the specified Contraceptive Prevalence Rate target of 36% by 2018 as indicated in the National Strategic Health Development plan 2009, including supply improvements that support interventions to improve access to family planning, knowing fully well that a common conclusion is that inadequate access to supply and services is one of the predominant causes of unmet need.
“Until now access to injectables have been limited to clinic settings. This, therefore, calls for urgent steps to expand access to voluntary family planning service through introduction and scale up of DMPA-SC within the right-based approach”, Soneye said.