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‘Family planning key to reducing maternal mortality in Nigeria’

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African woman Family planning. PHOTO: doktorsea.com

For Nigeria to drastically reduce the rate of maternal mortality, there is a need for more people (male and female) to adopt the family planning strategy.

Family planning is the practice of controlling the number of children one has and the intervals between their births, particularly by means of contraception or voluntary sterilization.

A report by Africa Population and Health Research Centre showed that Nigeria’s estimated annual 40,000 maternal deaths account for about 14 per cent of the global total, while the country is also the second-largest contributor to maternal mortality worldwide, after India.

The health experts who spoke at a sensitisation seminar held at the State Hospital, Ota, Ogun State, believed that family planning allows the family to adequately plan childbearing in order to meet their set objectives in life.

The seminar organised by the Ogun State Primary Health Care Centre in collaboration with The Challenge Initiative (TCI), Society for Family Health (SFH), also emphasised the need for parents to involve their children in sex education to prevent regrettable ignorant actions.

Mrs. Remi Atolagbe, of Reproductive Health Unit, Ogun State Primary Health Care, said both males and females require an adequate understanding of family planning and various methods that suits their personality.

She decried the spate of child abandonment in the country, which attributing it to unwanted pregnancies.

According to her, family planning would reduce such cases and reduce maternal mortality rate in Nigeria.

“Maternal mortality rate in Nigeria according to WHO is on the high side, which is sad and must be reduced to the barest minimum. One of the strategies to reduce maternal mortality rate is to promote family planning. Because abortion is not legalised in Nigeria, most women with unwanted pregnancies risk their lives to patronising quacks doctors. This has led to several deaths and infertility cases,” she said.

Atolagbe noted that youths could also adopt family planning to avoid unwanted pregnancies, while they study or pursuing their future career.

She stated that the various family planning methods might have side effects, but not dangerous to health.

Service Delivery Technical Support Lead, Mrs. Adekogba Jumoke, decried incessant abortions by teenagers, urging the parents to monitor and encourage them to adopt temporary family planning methods.

She emphasised the need for parental consent in adopting the contraceptive method, noting that it is better for children to use contraceptives rather than taking the risk that might cost their precious lives.

She said: “All children that are sexually active are encouraged to engage in family planning, and we detest any form of coercion for the girls.

“What we do is a very good form of counselling and allow them to make voluntary decisions,” she said.

According to her, the contraceptive is not 100 per cent, as they can fail, but has only one per cent chance of failure.

Quality Officer, Adolescent Reproductive Health, SFH, Mrs. Abiodun Temilayo Janet, urged parents to create intimacy with their children so as to be able to discover some hidden sexual habits, by this way such parent can help prevent sudden and unwanted pregnancy.

She lamented a situation whereby many poorly oriented girls get unwanted pregnancy and resort to abortions, which could damage their womb and make them childless permanently.

Janet, however, noted that the SFH initiative tagged “Naija Girls” was not to coerce girls to use contraceptives, but enlighten them on several ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

She noted that most of the girls prefer to engage their officers in the sexual debate rather than their parents.

“We are working in line with globally accepted rules because family planning and reproductive health begin from 16years to 40 years. We don’t force people, we enlighten them about the way to go and also educate them on vocational skills that will help their future,” she said.


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