By Sola Ogundipe

Family planning is changing fortunes for many housewives in Lagos, according to  findings on this year’s World Population Day, WPD – July 11 – with the theme: Family Planning is a Right,  some married women told Good Health Weekly that their expectations on contraceptive use are being met.

A number of women encountered said they are having their children by choice and not by chance as a result.

During site visits to mark the WPD, organised by Pathfinder International in collaboration with the Family Planning Media Advocacy Working Group,  some of the housewives said their greatest motivation was  the need for a happy home.

*Cross section of women during a family planning session at the Primary Healthcare Centre, Ogudu, Kosofe LGA, Lagos recently.

“Life has been better for me,” said a mother of two, Funke Alao, 35, who is on three-month injectables. “Knowledge about family planning is helping my marriage and has kept me and my children healthy,” she disclosed during an encounter.

“I don’t want to be getting pregnant every year,” remarked Chinaza Okoye. The mother of  four said she was introduced to family planning by a friend and  there is no going back.

“My first son is 18, second  15, the third is 12 and last, 2,” she noted.

Another mother of two, Banke Afilaka, 30, also on three-month injectables, said she has since overcome the myths and misconceptions surrounding the use of contraceptives.

“I used to be afraid of using any contraceptive, I was even afraid of condoms because people used to say they can disappear into women, but providers at the Dopemu Primary Health Centre, changed my perspective. Now, I’m confident about family planning. It is safe and convenient,” she remarked.

As for 36-year-old, Tinu Adewale, mother of three, the best contraceptive  for her is the five-year implant.

“Ït is God-sent. This implant has helped me to space my children appropriately,” she noted.  Tinu said: “When I became pregnant six months after my first child, it was not long before I took the advice of the health provider to utilise a contraceptive.

“The implant has been good with me, and I don’t have complaints apart from the fact that in the first three months, my period was irregular but later normalised.”

Juliet Ogu who resides in Alimosho area of Lagos, is also a satisfied client.  “I know many women that are now using family planning and they are happy.”

Juliet who  is on three months injectables, said she is spacing her children adequately.

“From the start, my husband and I planned to space our children and have better life. I have three children now. They are well spaced,” she stated.

Some of the women on injectables said that it was their husbands that initiated the choice. This may have confirmed a new report which states that injectable contraceptives are increasingly popular in Nigeria with a 28 per cent largest share of modern method.

In most of the clinics visited, in abundance were injectables that last for two months and also for three months and implants that last for five years. There were also the Intrauterine Device, IUD, and the male condom.

According to the United Nations, family planning is not only a matter of human rights; it is also central to women’s empowerment, reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development.

Yet in Nigeria, millions of women still lack safe and effective family planning methods for reasons ranging from lack of information or services to lack of support from their partners or communities.

The need to reduce number of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies in Nigeria through promotion of uptake and adoption of contraceptives is thus priority.

Findings showed that  Contraceptive Prevalence Rates, CPR, in Lagos have increased in recent times as more  women in the state are embracing family planning.

According to the 4th round survey of the Performance, Monitoring and Accountability 2020 , PMA2020, in Lagos, increase in the use of Long Acting Methods, LAMs such as  implants, was recorded despite   stockouts  in private health facilities.

The survey was conducted by the Centre for Research, Evaluation Resources and Development, CRERD in partnership with Pathfinder International and Bayero University, Kano, BUK, with support from the Federal Ministry of Health, National Population Commission, National Bureau of Statistics, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health (Johns Hopkins University).

Data from the National Demographic Health Survey 2013 reveals that the prevalence rate for contraceptive use in Nigeria is 15 per cent, despite the high rate of sexual activity and widespread awareness of the various contraceptive methods.

Health Rendezvous found that Contraceptive Prevalence Rates, CPR, in Lagos have increased in recent times as more women in the State are embracing family planning.

According to UNICEF, Contraceptive Prevalence Rate, CPR, in Nigeria was 15.10 as of 2013. Its highest value in over 31 years was 15.30 in 1999, while its lowest value was 6.00 in 1990.

Experts describe CPR as the percentage of women practicing, or whose sexual partners are practicing, any form of contraception. It is usually measured for women ages 15-49 who are married or in union.

Contraceptive prevalence modern methods which is the percentage of women aged 15-49 in Nigeria was 9.80 as of 2013. Its highest value over the past 23 years was 10.90 in 1994, while its lowest value was 3.50 in 1990.

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