Prof Oladapo Shittu, a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist, has attributed prevalent poverty in most Nigerian homes to high fertility rate.
Shittu, who is the Provost, Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo, said this in a lecture entitled ‘Reaping demographic dividends’ he delivered at a Zoom media training on reproductive health on Saturday.
The training was organised by Rotary Action Group for Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health, in conjunction with German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.
He said most families spent their earnings on food, diapers and payment of nursery school fees, without having much left for savings and investment as a result of unchecked procreation.
Shittu further said that high fertility at the national level had resulted in a population demography where the number of dependents aged 65 and above far outweighed those in the economically active group of between 15-64 years.
The don supported his presentation with statistics and infographics to prove that states with high fertility rates had more poor and illiterate people.
He also said that states with high family planning penetration had lower fertility rate and higher prosperity.
Shittu said family planning had nothing to do with religion as a North African country, a largely Muslim area, had embraced family planning and achieved higher demography dividend than any other part of Africa.
He said families should embrace family planning so as to reap some of the dividends, which included prevention of material, child and infant deaths, abortion, unwanted pregnancy and provides better health and economy.
According to him, unrestrained childbirth, as a result of low contraceptive use, leads to higher poverty rate and underdevelopment.
Also speaking, Prof Hadiza Galandanci harped on the need to grow the number and capacity of family planning service providers.
Galadanci decried the unsystematic approach to training of personnel, often lasting for a week, noting that the situation was responsible for poor service delivery.
She called on government all levels to engage well-trained medical doctors and encourage them to work in Nigeria so as to stem the tide of brain drain in the health sector.
Galadanci also said attention should be focused on training of women for this purpose, given their superior numbers in the health services delivery value chain.