By Omeiza Ajayi
The Marie Stopes International Organization of Nigeria MSION, a non-governmental organization providing sexual reproductive health services in the country has lamented that about 22 percent of women of reproductive age in Nigeria lack access to contraceptives despite their readiness to engage in family planning and child spacing.
Country Director of the organization, Mr Effiom Nyong Effiom disclosed this yesterday at a ceremony to commemorate its 10th anniversary in Nigeria.
“I could give you a percentile. We found out that about 22 per cent of women of reproductive age, as the last Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey NDHS shows, desire for a contraceptive method but they are not getting it. So, it is a significant number when you look at that and it means we are failing these women”, said Effiom.
Advising women to space their children for the sake of their personal health and that of the country, Effiom said family planning must be seen as a life-saving measure and not a religious or cultural crime.
He said; “Women must phase their children so that they can recover, be strong and healthy to even contribute to their families. In a case where that spacing is not happening, we are endangering the woman and the family as a whole, because women are the bedrocks of the family. A healthy mother will take care of her family better.
“We dream of a world where every birth is wanted. We want people to have children because they want to and not because it just happened and we are providing methods that help them do this because we want families to be healthy.
“If your religion quarrels about it – we do not know of any religion that quarrels over it. There is family planning in Afghanistan. Ireland with its largely Catholic faith has made changes. London has also made changes. I do not think it is about religion. It is more of education and information”, he added.
The organization which noted that Nigeria has one of the world’s fastest-growing populations said based on current trends, it would have become the world’s third most populous country by 2050, with around 100 million women of reproductive age.
“At the end of 2015, only one in eight women of reproductive age was using any form of modern contraception. Not only is contraceptive use low in the country, but choice of contraceptives is also limited”.