By Gabriel Olawale
In line with the Federal government of Nigeria’s commitment to achieve 27 per cent modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate, mCPR by 2020,
Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria-Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health at Scale; Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative; Palladium Technical Support Unit among other stakeholders have called for inclusion of non-clinical private providers in family planning service provision.
They said that expanding access to family planning and other primary healthcare services through inclusion of non-clinical private providers such as Community Pharmacists and Patent & Proprietary Medicines Vendors remain one of the key strategies to actualise the goal.
Speaking during the Lagos State Stakeholders Sensitisation/ Consultative Policy Dialogue, Senior Programme Officer, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria-Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health at Scale, Edwin Akpotor, said that about 60 per cent of Nigerians obtained their Contraceptives from the Private Sector while 30 per cent from Public Sector.
“In the Private Sector, both Community Pharmacists and Patent Medicines Vendors are responsible for over 60 per cent of Primary Health Care needs of Nigerians. So there is a need for the government of Nigeria and other relevant stakeholders to ensure essential Primary Health Care Services are Task Shifted or Task Shared with Community Pharmacists and Patent Medicine Vendors bearing in mind their unique contribution.
“If both non-clinical private providers such as Community Pharmacists and Patent & Proprietary Medicines Vendors Community Pharmacists and Patent Medicines Vendors are included in the TSTS Policy, contraceptive coverage would increase from 30 per cent to 90 per cent,” he noted.
Corroborating this view, Reproductive Health Coordinator, Lagos State, Dr Saidat Okaga said that the goal is to raise the CPR from 15 per cent to 36 per cent and contribute to the reduction of MMR by 75 per cent and IMR by 66 per cent by 2020.
“Achieving the Blueprint’s goal would avert 1.6 million unintended pregnancies, and 400,000 infant and 700,000 child deaths.
She disclosed that in 2017 an estimated 600,000 women are using a modern method of contraception in Lagos state which helps the state averted 143,000 unintended pregnancies, 46,000 unsafe abortions and 900 maternal deaths.
Okaga disclosed that Lagos State aimed to strengthen demand for a full range of contraceptive methods and family planning services by delivering targeted, accurate FP information to men and women and addressing common FP myths and misconceptions.
“Ensure youth are well informed on reproductive health issues and FP services available, Increase coverage and access to high-quality integrated Family planning services and commodities through the private sector, faith-based organizations, private hospitals/clinics, pharmacies and PPMVs as appropriate for some methods.
“Strengthen the capacity of healthcare workers to provide safe, high-quality FP services, including counselling, provision, and removal of long-acting reversible contraception.
Develop a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation plan for family planning logistics and service provision.