LASG, NURHI two seek to improve life planning at annual review meeting
At the 2012 Family Planning (FP) London Summit, Nigeria made a commitment to raise Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) by 20 per cent points over five years, commit additional funding to FP, Lagos committed to raise CPR to 74 percent, conduct a comprehensive FP landscape analysis to understand the status of FP in the state and develop a Costed Implementation Plan (CIP) to achieve 74 percent CPR by 2018.
The state went about this by investing in high impact activities and promoting enabling environments among other activities. Speaking at the Annual Review Meeting Agenda of the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI 2) Project 2018, the Director of Reproductive Health and State FP Coordinator, Saidat Okaga, said the total cost of CIP over two years stands at N18 billion and the cost of commodities is N14.4 billion while other areas including service delivery, communication, commodity logistics, supervision, monitoring and so on stands at N3.6 billion, whilst cost of annual work plan from 2017 till date stands at about N1.3 billion.
Adding that though there has been progress in the use of FP in the state, there was still need to deepen collaboration with both the formal and informal sectors to improve access to information, housing training centres at the local government level, upgrade infrastructure, scale up post pregnancy FP services, expand method mix and focus more on young people.
“The Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) has partnered and supported the state in so many ways by training partners: clinical and non-clinical health practitioners, renovating over 54 health care centres, conducting effective FP, providing technical assistance to officers, conduct contraceptive updates and supporting and promoting Serigbo, a radio drama series to teach FP to listeners.”
She urged the government to borrow a leaf from the 72-hour makeover and implement it at all levels across the state. Omasanjuwa Edun, state Team Leader, NURHI 2, confirmed that while they remained focused on service delivery, advocacy, demand generation, life planning for adolescent and youth as well as research, monitoring and evaluation, their year three focus will include sustainability, scaling up and ensuring ownership.
Because 691, 000 women are using a modern method of contraception in Lagos state, 239, 000 unintended pregnancies will be prevented, 85, 000 unsafe abortions would be averted and I, 400 maternal deaths would be averted.
Mojisola Odeku, Portfolio Director for the family planning programmes with the John Hopkins Centre for Communications Programmes of which NURHI is amongst, said the review meeting is a meeting of all stakeholders in Lagos state, bringing people from different fields in education and health information, community leaders, interfaith leaders, social mobilisers to deliberate on successes and challenges and plan the way forward.
“The meeting is a reflective one to help us deliberate on what has been gained over the last year. The initiative supports Lagos state in its bid in developing its people as the state has developed a blueprint called the family planning CIP, which has different segments and NURHI supports with technical assistance amongst other things. We put our heads together to look for solutions to problems, create new energy for the new programme year, which starts in September.”
On if young people should have access to family planning, Odeku said their programme is actually life planning for adolescents and young people, and contraceptive use is a part of life planning. “We are looking at this from a more holistic manner. The value of our nation lies in the youth and as their health and well being is paramount, contraceptive use is part of it whether we like it or not. The age of initiation to sex is now at nine years old, it used to be 11 years a few years ago but now, 11-year-olds are having sex, getting pregnant and committing abortions. Some lose their lives while others that do not, end up with complications that cripple their ambition of a greater tomorrow.
“Young people are our innovation hub and shouldn’t we rather invest in something that will improve their quality of life rather than allowing them die prematurely? As long as a person is sexually active and is likely to get pregnant, would you provide access for them to be able to manage and plan their lives from unwanted pregnancy and its consequences is what we are asking the media and community leaders.
“Our community leaders are playing ostrich to the truth and don’t want to admit we have a problem. Our programme starts from abstinence, providing life skills to delay sexual debut and providing them with places they can get quality information from credible healthcare providers who counsel them. There is no one size fits all to this issue. Whether or not you provide access to contraceptives, young people are having sex and they are turning to the wrong places for solutions that lead them to premature death. The government of Nigeria has initiated sexual education (known as family life and HIV Health Education) in all schools at different levels depending on the class, to educate our young adults and guide them on the right path and help them realise that they are not alone and can get help from the right sources.
Speaking on the 72-Hour Clinic Makeovers: A Cost-effective Strategy for Sustainable Universal Health Coverage, adopted by NURHI to improve health facilities in Lagos State, Duduyemi Adeola, program officer, service delivery, NURHI 2, said the clinic makeover aims to deliver quality turnaround at affordable cost within 72 hours, improve access to quality family planning services, provide basic family planning equipment and instruments, demonstrate that quality upgrades can be achieved within local context and improve client and provider experience and satisfaction.
Arguing that providing access to FP would spur economic growth, Duduyemi revealed that the number of FP users increased significantly over the course of two years after the health centre received a makeover.
Speaking on a panel discussion, Director for Development Communications Network (DEVCOMS), Akin Jimoh, revealed that there is still so much misinformation and fear regarding FP amongst Nigerians and urged religious and community leaders to do more in helping to promote it. “FP affects everyone of us in one way or the other. You might think because you have a small family, you are not affected but we are all competing for the same limited resources that is not enough to go round and in the long run, we all would be affected.”
NURHI 2 presently covers 10 local councils- Agege, Alimosho, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Ibeju-Lekki, Kosofe, Lagos Mainland, Mushin, Ojo, Oshodi-Isolo and Somolu and hopes to add others in the nearest future.
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