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Group partners Lagos state on family planning

By Tobi Awodipe
30 April 2022   |   2:46 am
In a bid to ramp up efforts toward improving Family Planning (FP) delivery in Lagos, The Challenge Initiative (TCI) is partnering with the state government to design


TCI seeks to deepen Lagos’ FP capacity, strengthen existing systems for women

In a bid to ramp up efforts towards improving Family Planning (FP) delivery in Lagos, The Challenge Initiative (TCI) is partnering with the state government to design its FP programme and improve the modern contraceptive prevalence rate (mCPR), especially amongst women in select communities.

The Federal Government recently said it will address the country’s high fertility rate with a revised population policy and TCI’S State Programme Coordinator for Lagos, Dr Adeola Duduyemi, has observed that move shows there’s increased political will to ensure expanded access to FP nationwide. 
“When there is increased visibility for issues such as this at the federal level, it usually has a bigger and better impact, as more people concerned start working towards it. More stakeholders would begin to pursue the goal at all governmental levels and everyone will work toward pushing the FP message. We’ll look at how to take advantage of this to further increase contraceptive uptake among eligible men and women of reproductive age.”
Duduyemi said while the initiative seeks to challenge everyone, it is a ‘business unusual model’ in the sense that it is more of a handholding for Lagos state to strengthen the existing systems and structures in this regard.     

“We will provide technical support to the state in different thematic areas such as Service Delivery for improved access to quality FP services, Demand Generation for increased awareness of the community to correct information on different contraceptive methods and referral to health facilities where such services can be obtained, Monitoring and Evaluation to ensure that the state has quality data that shows the true picture of contraceptive uptake. 
“Advocacy is important therefore, there is a need to continue to advocate for increased funding and an enabling environment for FP. Also, we must not forget Adolescents and Youth Reproductive Health (AYRH) because increasing awareness of contraception for sexually active young people is key to protecting them from unwanted pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).”
She said the project is a scale-up of the now-ended NURHI project to ensure the diffusion of best practices in Lagos.

“The state will design its own programme with technical assistance from us and from the program design stage, programme implementation commences with emphasis on increased funding for FP programming in the state. Ownership and sustainability are built into the program right from the beginning.”
On the importance of FP to Nigerians and the economy as a whole, Duduyemi explained that FP is not a foreign concept and has always existed from time immemorial.

“In the old days, our fore-parents believed a child should be breastfed for two and a half years and they did this to allow the mother to focus on that child, delay the next pregnancy and allow time for proper recovery before another pregnancy. There are many advantages to FP as it affects the individual, family, community, economy, nation and even the world at large.

At the individual level, FP allows a woman to space pregnancies to allow for gainful employment and self-development. As a woman, you might want to further your education, and pursue a business, or career, which won’t be feasible if you have a child every year as compared to practising childbirth spacing so that you can focus on your goals.

Economically, you have to look at your income before having children so as to give them the best. Every individual or family should only have children they can cater for to prevent them from becoming nuisances to the community. At the national level, children who are planned for and given good education will be able to contribute positively to national and economic development.”

Reiterating that FP is not the sole responsibility of women, Duduyemi said men have a big role to play and male involvement is very important.

“Some women are not empowered to make decisions on their own except their husbands give the go-ahead. In this light, if a man accepts FP, it will have a positive impact on the family. No man wants his wife to die from complications of unplanned pregnancies, therefore, we must increase awareness amongst men to ensure they encourage their wives to take up FP methods. Everyone has a role to play (parents, in-laws, relatives and friends) to ensure that FP becomes a social norm. It is a collective effort from everyone, not just the woman, it’s a shared burden for all.”