FG urged to declare state of emergency on family planning


Family Planning

Family planning

Dr Mairo Mandara, the Country Director, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), has called on Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on family planning in Nigeria to address increasing rate of maternal mortality.

She made the call at the 2017 World Population Day (WPD) Symposium organised by National Population Commission (NPopC) in Abuja on Tuesday.

The symposium was organised in collaboration with UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and other partners to mark the 2017 WPD celebrated every year on July 11.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Family Planning, Birth Spacing: Empowering People, Developing Nations.”

Mandara said family planning was essential in addressing economic, social and health problems of any nation, noting that a state of emergency was necessary to resolve the numerous problems associated with it.

She stressed the need for Nigeria to start looking at ways to control and manage its
population growth to improve peoples’ quality of life.

According to her, many pregnant women die from childbirth-related complications in the country, saying a state of emergency on family health will help to address emerging multi-challenges of high child mortality rate, civil unrest, poor amenities in schools and social services.

The BMGF country director said `at least 30 percent of the deaths from childbirth complications can be averted by just improving access to family planning services and commodities.

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“Women constitute almost half of Nigeria’s population, of which, 50 per cent
are in their reproductive years, while 11 percent of the females are adolescents aged 15 to 19 years and 23 per cent of girls have already commenced motherhood.

“Investing in family planning is investing in the health and rights of women and couples nationwide. These investments also yield economic gains that can propel development.

“Women should be empowered to have fewer children and to start their families at the appropriate time in life so that they can complete their schooling, earn a better living and escape poverty.

“There are many families that desire services but do not have access to them. We need to respond to the yearnings of these families through collective efforts and strong government commitment, international and local stakeholders.”

She added that improving access to modern contraceptives for sexually active women and adolescents would empower them to make free and informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health.

Mandara said it would also help them to participate fully in society and contribute to the economy, help them and their children to live healthier, richer lives and build stronger, more prosperous nation.

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