A public health physician Dr. Amina Aminu Dorayi has called for an improvement in the education of Nigerians about the benefits of contraceptives.
According to the expert, the nation needs to do more to create awareness about the benefits of contraceptives to help ensure more Nigerians are educated about its benefits for planning.
She noted that inadequate information and education are part of the reasons for the low Contraceptive Prevalence Rate in Nigeria.
Dorayi who is also Country Director Pathfinder International disclosed this in an interview with journalists shortly after speaking at a capacity-building workshop organised for journalists in Gombe recently.
The workshop is a Training of Trainers (ToT) for the sustainability of the Advanced Family Planning project.
Speaking further, she stressed that issues around family planning should be addressed as a human capital development, noting that for those who wouldn’t space their children for health reasons, the present economy has given them pragmatic reasons to do that.
Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) is the percentage of women who are using or whose partners are currently using the barrier type of method for prevention. Nigeria is aimed at attaining a 27 percent prevalence rate by 2024.
Recall that Nigeria has about 5.5 percent total fertility rate in Sub-Saharan Africa based on the 2018 National Demographic Health Survey.
Dorayi said, “Family Planning is a bit different from pregnancy and delivery.
“This is because for pregnancy you will see it and you will have to go to hospital but for family planning, the people are basically healthy.
“The culture that makes people think they need to have so many children or how religion is interpreted should be looked at.
“That is the reason I feel making sure that Basic Education for young girls is mandatory is necessary so that they get to age 18, by secondary school level before they get married.
“So, early marriage is one of the things that makes our CPR to be very low.
“Information is important. Both women and girls need to know the importance of spacing their children.
“The economy has also shown child spacing is important. It is so clear now that if you don’t want to plan your family for health reasons, you can plan for economic reasons.
“Too frequent pregnancies, too many pregnancies without taking care of the body is not good. So, it is coming to the fore that family planning is important for human capital development and we have to address it as a holistic approach not as a health matter only.”
Commenting on the sustainability of Advanced Family Planning, Dorayi stated that more is required so that both policy and decision-makers in the country work towards ensuring an increased contraceptive prevalence rate.
“We brought journalists from about 10 states of the Federation and the federal capital territory to build their capacity. These journalists being trained are already seasoned journalists.
“It has been quite some years that we have been implementing the Advanced Family Planning funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through the John’s Hopkins University. The project is gradually rounding off.
“This training is expected to increase commitment towards family planning budget, policy implementation for family planning which will impact on the overall reproductive health of women and families in general.
“If we build more capacity it will mean that they will use the capacity to communicate with policymakers. This will be smart advocacy it will entail knowing who the policymakers are, trying to reach out to them and trying to ensure that the advocacy objective is met by ensuring that it helps to improve the health of women and girls in Nigeria,” she said.
While calling on the for improved funding and release, she noted various efforts by her organisation to ensure improved reproductive health of women.
Dorayi said, “We have been able to support communities, with other Civil Society Organisation’s to bring family planning to the national agenda. We have built a crop of advocates at the national and sub-national levels.
“Proper budgeting for family planning will reduce maternal and child mortality. We are not happy with the budget of health in general and also for reproductive health and family planning.
“Policymakers need to have all the necessary information to realise and recognise the importance of family planning as well as sexual and reproductive health and health in general.
“Civil Society Organisations should never get tired in advocacy, we should continue to advocate.”
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