By Obinna Unaeze
The Niger State Primary Health Care Development Agency (NSPHCDA) says more than 250,718 families embraced Family Planning (FP) from 2021 to May 2022 in the state.
The FP Coordinator in the agency, Ms Dorcas Abu, made this known during a media forum on “Status of Family Planning” organised by Pathfinder International, an international NGO in Minna on Friday.
Abu said that the families embraced FP methods so as to minimise complications from pregnancies or childbirth.
She said that “in 2021, many families across the 25 local government areas of Niger accepted FP.
“Between January and May 2022, more than 50,000 families also accepted FP, and still counting.”
She, however, said that some factors affect the uptake of FP in the state, adding that the male (husband) factor had been an impediment “because some husbands don’t want to hear anything about FP because of their religion or tradition.
“Women are the worst hit because sometimes they have to tell a lie to their husbands that they are going for immunisation in order to come for FP services.
“Some other women access FP services when they take their children for immunisation.”
The coordinator said that untimely release of funds by government and security challenges in parts of the state were other factors affecting the uptake of FP in some areas.
She explained that the meeting, organised by Pathfinder International, was to assess its five-year partnership project with the state government on FP.
According to Abu, the project has achieved a lot in sensitising families to embrace FP, with free or affordable health consumables depending on availability.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Muhammad Makusidi, said there was the need for birth control to enable the government to plan for everybody.
He said the state government needed to support families to embrace FP to reduce maternal mortality.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that fertility rate is the average number of children delivered by one woman of child-bearing age.
In 2019, the fertility rate in Nigeria rose to 5.32 children per woman.
Dr Andrew Okoh, Consultant Pharmacist, NSPHCDA and Secretary, Advocacy Working Group for the project, said that the main achievement recorded so far was acceptance of FP by the people of the state.
Okoh called for increased funding by government to sustain the project as Pathfinder International would withdraw after the five-year partnership.
Dr Hauwa Kolo, the Director, Community/Family Services, NSPHCDA, said the agency had redoubled it efforts in training and re-training of staff on FP issues in primary health facilities in the 25 local government areas of the state.
Earlier, Mr Bayo Ewuola, the Media and Communications Officer, Pathfinder International, had urged the state government to continue to make funds available for FP and create an enabling environment to sustain the programme. (NAN)(www.nanews.ng)
Edited by Dianabasi Effiong/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu