The Federal Ministry of Health has said that if implemented properly, family planning can reduce maternal deaths by 30 per cent.
The Director, Reproductive Health Division at the ministry, Dr Kayode Afolabi, said this during a dialogue organised by the Development Research and Project Centre in collaboration with the ministry and other civil society organisations.
Afolabi noted that at the rate of 576 per 100,000 live births, maternal mortality in Nigeria was higher than the global average.
He said, “If we implement family planning fully and it is directed to all women who deserve it within a particular age group, it could prevent as high as 30 per cent of preventable maternal deaths. And it is also confirmed that at least 25 per cent of under-five mortalities can be prevented by contraceptives and childbirth spacing.”
Afolabi said that improved funding for family planning is critical to ensuring its success in the country.
He said the Federal Government was working hard to ensure access to family planning services in the country, adding that only 3,000 Primary Healthcare Centres offered family planning services four years ago, but more than 12, 000 centres now do so.
The director said other emerging issues in the uptake of family planning services in the country would be factored into the review of the policy.
He said the minister this year made a pledge of $4m to family planning and had promised that the government would pay it in full.
The director said the country had not been fulfilling most of its pledges, adding that although it recently pledged $3m for the basket funding for family planning yearly for four years, it had not redeemed this pledge.
“This was meant to total to $12m. Unfortunately, the fund released was only $7m in total,” he said.
While making his presentation, a member of the panel, Adedeji Aderibigbe, from the University of Ilorin, lamented the low level of advocacy on family planning in Nigeria.
“I realised that some of the documents reviewed in spite of having lines on family planning issues have no mention of family planning advocacy,” Aderibigbe said.