By Ebun Sessou
Following the celebration of the World Population Day which took place on July 11 with the theme-Family Planning is a Human Right,, a group, Development Communications Network, Devcoms, has said that the only key to save women’s lives is for government at all levels to intensify campaign on the essence of family planning.
The programme Director of Devcoms, Akin Jimoh disclosed that promotion and mainstreaming of information and service delivery on family planning is one of the key strategies to control the continuous population growth in Nigeria. Adding that, this is especially important for marginalised groups and people in hard to reach areas across the country.
According to him, the celebration would also not be complete without recognising Nigerian women who bears the brunt of death and infirmities due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth. With Nigeria’s population growing at an unsustainable rate for national development we support all efforts to address the in-balance in the country’s development and the current population of 198 million people, with urban population growing at an average annual growth rate of about 6.5 per cent.
His words: “United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), family planning is the information, means and methods that allow individuals to decide if and when to have children. Individuals, including women, youths and adolescents right to contraceptive information and services is grounded in basic human rights.
“The obligation for right to health mean that health care services must be available in sufficient quantity; accessible in ways that are non-discriminatory and ensure that services can be accessed physically and financially; acceptable in the sense of being respectful of the culture of individuals;and of good quality.
“Women, youths and adolescents in Nigeria must be provided services that are accessible, available, and acceptable to prevent unplanned pregnancies most of which ends in procurement of unsafe abortion, one of the contributors to maternal deaths in the country”, he said.
He further noted that it is important to establish Youth Friendly Centers dedicated to providing sexual and reproductive health services that meets young people at their point of need rather than resorting to practices that endangers their lives. These should operate based on elements of full, free, and informed choice with citizens having access to information on all methods of contraceptives (temporary and permanent) and also have the right to make decision about what service to uptake without coercion and barriers.”
“Family planning is a wise investment for national development though with a number of differentials in level of acceptance across the country, that needs to be further enhanced for the benefits of Nigerians. It is very important that government at all levels should ensure the availability of family planning commodities and consumables in order to advance access to a major means of addressing the country’s population debacle.
“Government should realise that without contraceptive products there will not be a programme to save the lives of women, children and others who needs it. Government should be accountable for ensuring that the supply contraceptives products and consumables are available at the point of needs for every prospective user.
“All stakeholders needs to collaborate in other to make up for the unmet needs among target groups which according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is high among adolescents, migrants, urban slum dwellers, refugees and women in postpartum period.
“Health workers have a key role to play in making reproductive and sexual health service available to those who need it. From when an adolescent walk through the door of a clinic, to when he/she leaves, the services provided, good or bad, might shape the future of such individual”, he explained.