Dr Ejike Oji, the Chairman, Technical Management Committee, Association for the Advancement of Family Planning (AAFP), has urged state governments to key into Federal Government’s Family Planning (FP) programmes to encourage more people to embrace it.
He made the call at the ROYAL NEWS Forum in Abuja, as he commended Federal Government for releasing four million dollars counterpart fund (about N1.6 billion) for the purchase of family planning commodities in the country.
Oji, who, however, said that the amount was inadequate, compared with the N26 million annual projected amount required for the country’s family planning commodity purchase, added that if state governments augment Federal Government’s efforts, it would go a long way.
The chairman also commended Federal Government’s will and readiness to project family planning by establishing a demographic dividend office, headed by the Vice President, saying “that shows commitment to the purpose.
“Secondly, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the 42 regular course of National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, near Jos, to focus on the issue of population growth challenges and human capital development.
“The Federal Government had developed a National Population Policy in 2014, and is currently being reviewed.
“The government also developed the Family Planning Blueprint, all geared toward increased uptake of FP and making it a norm so that families can have the number of children they can take care of.”
Oji, who stressed the importance of family planning toward increased Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and national development, emphasised the relationship between family planning and poverty, saying “the absence of one can cause the other.”
He, therefore, urged state governments to key into the concept and develop cost implementation plan for their states.
He also stressed the need for Nigeria to take over the whole funding of the country’s family planning needs, adding that population had become a strategic security issue globally.
“I will like to see Nigeria take over family planning funding because population has become a strategic security issue globally now,” he stressed.
The AAFP boss also blamed the society over what he termed as “doing ostrich hiding” for teenage pregnancies in the country.
He said “most of the unintended pregnancies we have in Nigeria and complications of abortion we see are outside marriage, meaning that young girls are sexually active.
“If you look at Maternal Mortality Rate in Nigeria, 70 per cent of the women are below the age of 18. At that age, the woman’s body anatomy is not ready for pregnancy and will be exposed to dangers.
“Therefore, there is the need for male involvement in terms of behavioural change; men ought to be supportive of their wives since the burden of fertility management is on the women.
“We are appealing to men to support the women. Every man and woman should be counselled and young girls too, on the different FP methods to protect themselves.”
Meanwhile, Oji announced that the AAFP and partners had scheduled the 6th Nigeria Family Planning Conference 2020 for Dec. 7 to Dec. 11 in Abuja, where it hoped to bring together youths, religious and traditional leaders, policy makers and other stakeholders to brainstorm on changing the landscape of FP in Nigeria.
The theme of the conference is “Post 2020 Agenda and Safeguarding Investment in Emergencies, Adaption, Innovation, Resilience” to be held both physically/virtually.
Topics to be discussed include demography, myths around family planning, increase in advocacy and innovation, with focus on not allowing COVID-19 to stop family planning gains, among others.
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