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UNFPA, DFID want pact with government to save lives


Babatunde Osotimehin

Babatunde Osotimehin

Renew support for voluntary family planning

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Great Britain’s Department for International Development (DfID) are seeking greater collaboration with the Federal Government to save more Nigerians from preventable and avoidable deaths.

To this effect, the Executive Director of UNFPA, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin and the Permanent Secretary of the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) DfID, Mark Lowcock, yesterday arrived in Nigeria on a mission to boost reproductive health services.

UNFPA said in Abuja that Osotimehin, who is also the United Nations Under-Secretary-General, would visit the Presidency today to renew and enhance support for voluntary family planning.

Both development specialists are also expected to engage with government to step up work in the area.

A statement from UNFPA said: “Despite various family planning programming efforts in Nigeria, its contraceptive prevalence rate has been static since 2008 and hovers around 10 per cent, alarming partners, donors and the government. The current funding landscape indicates that DfID contributes about 50-60 per cent of total funding for contraceptives in the public health sector through UNFPA. The government’s cash counterpart contribution has been inconsistent since 2013. By 2017; there may be bigger funding gap for contraceptives, especially since Nigeria is expected to increase CPR to 36 percent by 2018.

“The two international development leaders will meet with Nigeria’s Vice–President, Yemi Osinbajo, to enhance cooperation. They are also scheduled to meet with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Health, Finance, Budget and National Planning, and of the Federal Capital Territory.

“During their meetings with high-level representatives of the government, donors and partners, such as the European Union and the World Bank, they will advocate for more sustainable funding for contraceptives procurement and investments in health workers.”

To have a firsthand feel of the situation in the country, Osotimehin and Lowcock are scheduled to visit the General Hospital, Maitama, and FCT Area 2 clinic.

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