Lagos – The Lagos State Government on Thursday says the involvement of grassroots leaders in the uptake of Family Planning (FP) to make it more effective in the state.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, made the assertion held on Thursday at the Isolo Local Council Development Area (LCDA) Town Hall Meeting on Family Planning in Lagos.
The meeting was facilitated by the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI), a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded project.
Idris, represented by Dr Saidat Okaga, the State Reproductive Health Coordinator, said: “Provision of free Family Planning services to women and men of child bearing age in Lagos is a paramount agenda of the state government.
“The reason is not far-fetched because different statistics and surveys conducted in the state show that Family Planning programme, when effectively done, can lead to a reduction of maternal deaths by 34 per cent.
“The participation of the community members, who are the direct recipients of the various interventions, is key.
“This informed the establishment of Town Hall meetings at the grassroots to allow us understand the need to adequately plan for a right family size.
“So, our community leaders are majorly recognised as being key in the provision of the right information to our community people on FP services in order to remove barriers and misconceptions to usage.’’
Idris stressed the need for the local government chairmen to collaborate with the state Ministry of Health in the provision of family planning consumables for all the PHCs under the LGAs and LCDAs.
“These consumables are necessary to enable the commodities to be used and must therefore be available free of charge just as the commodities are equally being provided free by the government.
“This way, we can make family planning services attractive to our teeming population.
“This will also go a long way in encouraging our women to patronise our health facility thereby increasing FP uptake.
“So, our community leaders are majorly recognised as being key in the provision of the right information to our community people on FP services in order to remove barriers and misconceptions to usage.
“I implore you all to become advocates and champions of FP and help in driving the information on the need for its usage,’’ he said.
The commissioner said that a well-spaced family would ensure that women looked younger and were better able to contribute to the economic activities in the homes.
“The fathers are able to provide adequately for the family size they can afford to take care of from their earnings.
“As a result, the society will indirectly be rid of unruly miscreants who are homeless from lack of family support and care,’’ Idris said.
In his remarks, Mr Shamsudeen Olaleye, the Chairman, Isolo LCDA, said: “We are committed to doing everything possible to reduce maternal and child mortality, if not completely remove it from our health system.
“We have a budget for FP and once there is a budget that signifies statement of will.
“The Isolo LCDA will do its best to contribute its quota to ensuring that family planning becomes a lifestyle to reduce discomforts and casualties that result from not planning a family,’’ Olaleye said. (NAN)