How Family Planning averts 46,000 unsafe abortions in Lagos – Family Health Director

How Family Planning averts 46,000 unsafe abortions in Lagos – Family Health Director

• Also prevents 143,000 unintended pregnancies, 800 maternal deaths
• 600,000 women currently using contraceptives in the state

Dr. Oludara showing the female condom at the forum.

No fewer than 600,000 women are currently using a modern method of contraception in Lagos state, the Director, Family Health & Nutrition of the state ministry of health (LSMoH), Dr (Mrs) Folashade Folashayo Oludara has revealed.

Although this is less than 10% of the target population for family planning in the state, Dr. Oludara, citing the 2017 Family Planning Estimation Tool analysis (FP 2020), says this has averted 46,000 unsafe abortions, 143,000 unintended pregnancies in addition to 800 maternal deaths.

Speaking at the Annual Media Forum of Family Planning/Child Spacing organised by the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Health (LSMOH) on Friday July 21st in Lagos, Oludara who spoke on the topic: Family Planning, Child Spacing, Empowering People, Building Nations however pointed out that the current uptake of contraceptive is still low amongst the populace.

“The 2013 National Demographic Survey reported contraceptive prevalence rate of 48% for all methods (both traditional and modern) in Lagos State. For Nigeria to meet the set national CPR target, Lagos State is required to hit a target of 74% by 2018.

“In order to achieve this goal the Ministry of Health has been making giants strides to ensure that a wide range of modern Family Planning methods are available and accessible to the target populace,” she said.

Noting that the uptake of family planning reduces fertility rate, resulting in fewer young mouths to feed, change in age structures with resultant increase in working population and labour market and eventually sustainable economic transitions, Dr. Oludara restated the commitment of the ministry towards ensuring increased uptake of family planning in the state.

According to her, such interventions in the state include: Provision of free FP commodities and services at all Public health facilities and Private facilities with trained providers; Training of FP Providers at all Public and Private Health facilities; Establishment of an efficient system to supply and distribute Family Planning commodities to all providers (Last Mile Distribution); Public Enlightenment on Family Planning such as the airing of FP jingles developed by Artiste (Get it together) Town hall sensitization meetings, media engagement, market storm, motorized rallies etc; Provision of Family planning counselling and services at the seven Adolescent Friendly Centres (LASUTH Hello Lagos, Oko Awo, Agege, Ogudu, Alimosho, Onigbongbo and Action Health Centre) in Lagos State; and the provision of FP outreaches services in hard to reach areas.

However, she emphasized that failure to accept family planning could lead to youth bulge which could as well lead to a ‘demographic disaster’ or ‘demographic benefits.

“Where there is a high population of youth as seen in the Lagos pyramid with accompanying low uptake of family planning there is high tendency of unwanted pregnancies, abortions which can in-turn increase maternal and child mortalities. The resultant increase in population can also result in unemployment, lower life expectancy rate and this cannot be a proxy for improvements in actual economic dependency ratios,” she said.

She therefore urged the media to support the state in propagating FP messages and help to reduce myths, misconceptions and the socio-cultural barriers to the use of FP by our people.

In line with that, Executive-in-charge, Media Mentorship Leadership Academy, Ms Joke Kujenya who spoke on the topic: Need for Media Involvement In Preventing Population Explosion and Promoting Family Planning, said that the involvement of media in combating health promotion for sustainable health development throughout the world remains vital.

“Media such as Newspapers, Radio, TV, World Wide Web i.e. E-Tech world, social media etc., play central role in people’s lives as its importance is evident in the amount of time people spend engaging in them. Therefore, the media have the vibrant responsibility to create awareness in sensitising the government and lawmakers regarding hazards of population explosion. Media must make governance elite socially responsive about the dangers of unchecked population growth.

“Already, a large portion of the population live below the poverty line because rapid and imbalanced population growth usually devour economic growth and development, making positive intervention in the social sector ineffective, media should call government’s attention to this quite often,” she maintained.

She however charged the media to develop a concept she term ‘Behaviour Change Communication’ (BCC) through write-ups; share positive stories and articles in support of birth spacing, concept of healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies towards advocating for policy level changes among others.

Dr. Edun Omasanjuwa, NURHI Lagos State team leader, in appreciation said the forum is important as it gives ample opportunity for us to chat a way forward for our country. “It gives us the opportunity to discuss issues surrounding our population, how we can make the best use of it, how we can effectively manage our populations, move it forward and how family planning is impacting on our population right now and how we can better plan for the future.

“It’s an ongoing conversation; it is something that we need to keep talking about until we get to a point that if they ever reach that point then we can stop talking about it. But we cannot overemphasize the importance/benefits of family planning,” he said, while recorgnising the media as a powerful tool to pushing family planning forward.

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