- BY ROLAND OGBONNAYA in Ibadan•
Women in Oyo State, southwest Nigerian are increasingly embracing Family Planning (FP) services, according to some of the service providing centres.
According to some of the service providing centres visited recently in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, more women- married and single are aware and increasingly access the family planning products.
The service centres volunteered this information when the members of the Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria (NRHJN) visited some family planning service centres in Ibadan as part of activities characterising a two-day training programme in partnership with Marie Stopes International Organisation Nigeria (MSION).
According to Mrs. Olawumi Akowo, matron of the Elebu Health Centre in Ido Local Government Area of Oyo State, about 30 to 60 women come into the centre to access family products and the most popular one among them is the implant, which lasts a longer period.
A midwife, Mrs. Adeniyi of the Adeniyi Memorial Hospital, Ibadan corroborated the position of Mrs. Okowo.
She said unlike before, more women are coming into her facility to inquire and access family planning commodities because they are now aware that the era of having too many or unwanted children is over.
She confirmed that most of the women come with their husbands, which is a new and encouraging development, giving credit to Marie Stopes for sustained awareness creation and support.
Mrs. Adeniyi said as partners to Maria Stopes and contrary to public misconception, that they don’t promote abortion, but explained that in a situation where some women have gone to quacks and their lives in danger, a qualified doctor can render post-abortion services in order to save the life of the woman.
Some of the women who came to access the family planning services also spoke to THE LEAD. For example, Mrs. Florence Olaoye, a mother of three said she and her husband agreed to have that number of children. But thereafter she found herself getting pregnant and terminating them for about six times and the husband agreed that they should access family planning service.
“I now use the implant and I am enjoying my life now,” she said, smiling. She further encouraged other women in her position to quickly access family planning service in a health centre close to them.
Service providers however tasked journalists to help increase the awareness on availability and use of modern contraceptive methods to aid family planning and reduce unwanted pregnancies.
However, declaring open the two-day training programme earlier, Director Programme of Marie Stopes International Nigeria, Mr Emmanuel Ajah explained that the workshop was to discourage the myths and sentiments regarding family planning and safe abortion to enable women give birth to their desired number of children.
Mr Ajah maintained that Marie Stopes International Nigeria believes that children should be by choice and not by chance.
He regretted that Nigeria has high maternal mortality rate with recent statistics showing that, 451 women die annually out of one hundred thousand live births while three thousand women die every year from unsafe abortion.
The Director however, noted that the demand for contraceptives had increased in the country to 36 per cent, but stressed that cultural and religious barriers were still inhibiting women to access modern family planning services hence the need for more advocacy.
On his part, a Media Consultant to IPAS and Marie Stopes Nigeria, Mr Emmanuel Ugoji frowned at the poor funding towards family planning services in Nigeria, explaining that 2019 witnessed a decline as the government paid the sum of nine hundred and fifty-eight thousand US Dollars as against four million US dollars it released in 2018.
He also emphasised that Nigeria’s fertility rate stood at 5.3 per cent with a growth rate of 2.6 per cent, higher than that of developed countries, which he said, was responsible for insecurity and unemployment rates in the country.
In their presentation, Treasurer and the Internal Auditor of the Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria, Mrs. Angela Onwuzoo and Ijeoma Uche-Ukazu respectively, urged the media professionals to use their reportage to influence government to provide free family planning services in hospitals.
They also called on colleagues to educate the people on the benefits of family planning and stop the infringement of rights of persons who want the services.