Despite interventions, family planning suffers huge unmet gap – FG

The Federal Government has said despite all the interventions by both governments at the national, and sub-national levels and partners’ support, there is still a huge unmet need for family planning especially in the rural communities and hard-to-reach areas.

The Director of Family Health Department of the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Bolade Alonge in her opening speech at the 2023 annual family planning technical review meeting in Abuja disclosed that this is largely because of non-accessibility of family planning information and services especially in low resource settings as well as a huge funding gap for the procurement of FP commodities.

Alonge who was represented by the Director of Health Promotion, Dr Ladidi Bako- Aiyegbusi while quoting the 2021 Nigeria Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), said the demand for family planning services among married or in-union women is only satisfied in 4 out of every 10 women.

She, however, said the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Health has added new commodities to the method mix like the DMPA-SC, with the Self Injection component, Hormonal IUD, Levoplant so that more women of reproductive age can access a wide range of commodities of their choice.

Speaking further, she said, in a recent study conducted in 2020, Health service-related factors identified as challenges to family planning uptake, included difficulty accessing services, and procurement difficulties while the client related barriers were education, desire for more children, uncertainty about its need, partner disapproval, previous side effects, religious beliefs, culture disapproval, age, marital status, wealth index, residence, ignorance, embarrassment, domestic violence and sexual factor.

“Additionally, the delivery and uptake of contraception has remained a major developmental challenge in Africa”.

“In view of the enormous challenges enumerated above as factors inhibiting family planning uptake there is an urgent call for partners and stakeholders to dialogue and foster a way forward so we can collectively achieve our set targets and that every woman of couple have access to safe and quality FP services at all Service Delivery Points (SDPs) spread across the entire nation”.

“As we move closer to the year 2030, we should focus on Sustainable Financing for Family Planning as well as the FP 2030 Commitment”, she added.

Earlier, the United Nations Population Fund(UNFPA)Family Planning and Maternal Health Technical Specialist, Adeela Khen reiterated that, UNFPA is the lead sexual reproductive health agency of the United Nations globally and the long standing partners of the family planning for the Federal Ministry of Health and they are passionate about the family sensitisation debate, particularly in Nigeria, which is one of the largest populations of Africa.

“As we move forward, We face more and more funding gaps as the contribution becomes so important, particularly in this year 2023, where we’re looking at almost 80% gap and that’s where we are presently,” She added.

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