– Commemorates Y2021 World Contraception Day
Wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu has called on women to embrace family planning, saying that the socio-economic benefits of family planning leads to female empowerment and economic enhancement.
This was given as other health experts called for increased sensitisation among women and their spouses for the benefits of women, families and the society at large.
Speaking at an event to commemorate the 2021 World Contraception Day, Dr. Sanwo-Olu, said that there was no better time than now to put family planning on the front burner adding that it ensures a woman has adequate time to achieve her career goals.
She added that she was at the event in solidarity with the women who contribute meaningfully daily to the economic growth of Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole.
According to her, family planning is an informed decision by an individual or a couple on how many children to have and when to have them. She added that the practice involves the use of modern contraceptive methods to adequately space pregnancies.
She said: “Family planning prevents birth-related complications for both mother and child and has the long-term benefits of empowering women and reducing poverty.
“Families that have the number of children they can afford to train are able to devote more resources to providing them with adequate food, education, clothing, shelter and other necessities.
“There is no gainsaying that family planning enables women to pursue their educational and career aspirations, acquire more wealth, and in the long run, contribute to socio-economic development of their immediate communities”.
Harping on the significance of family, Dr Sanwo-Olu said when women space their births effectively, they can recover from the previous birth, take care of themselves and the living child and bond with their children and spouses.
She explained that the growing population in our state and nation has its attendant challenges such as increased rate of unemployment, high rate of poverty, growth of slums, poor access to sanitation, poor health, lack of or poor education and increased crime rates.
“One effective tool for tackling these problems is for families to have the number of children they can cater for.
“Despite the benefits of family planning, it is disheartening to know that for many women, the right to decide when or whether to have children is being hindered by lack of access to safe and modern methods of contraceptives.
“For example, although contraceptive methods are provided free in public health facilities, user fees for consumables such as syringes and gloves have been found to be a barrier to family planning uptake”, the Wife of the Governor stated.
She noted that many women in Lagos State who want to delay or avoid pregnancy are currently not using any form of modern contraception, adding that the government’s goal is to reach these women, their partners and many other women who are yet to understand the need for and benefits of family planning.
Dr Sanwo-Olu insisted that the socio-economic benefits of family planning cannot be overemphasized, as it leads to female empowerment and economic enhancement. It ensures a woman has adequate time to achieve her career goals.
On his part, the State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi said the event with the theme, “A new Lagos, Family planning, a catalytic pillar for female empowerment and socio-economic development”,seeks to put Family Planning on the consciousness of citizens and front burner of public discourse.
Abayomi said that in 2018 research estimates that the State has averted about 167,000 unintended pregnancies, 59,000 abortions and 1,100 maternal deaths.
“Women who space their births can devote more time to pursue their educational and career aspirations, and, in the long run, accrue more resources.
“High fertility rates may hinder such opportunities for advancement, increase health risks for women, and lead to deterioration in the quality of life,” Abayomi said.
Earlier in her remarks, the Director Post Pregnancy Planning Project; a project funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and implemented by Johnhopkins Centre for Communication Programs, Dr. Taiwo Johnson, noted that all all implementing partners under BMGF are working to expand access to family planning information and services as one of the key pillars for human capital development and particularly female empowerment.
She said: “As implementing partners, we support Lagos State Governnent to implement family planning costed implementation plan which was adapted from the National Family Planning blueprint.
“Such support transcends service delivery, demand generation and advocacy interventions across all tiers of government and the private sector, creating an enabling environment for the provision of voluntary and comprehensive family planning services with the pillars of institutional strengthening wield into every strands of operations for sustainability through robust technical support assistance”.
Johnson added that Lagos State is making strides in achieving the 74 percent target of contraception rate assigned by the Federal Ministry of Health towards achieving the national contraceptive goals.
She however, noted that while a lot has been done in achieving contraception rate, there is still more grounds to be covered especially with regards to the ever growing population of Lagos State, migration from different part of the country, reduction in donor funding, COVID distruption, reduction in national funding for family planning, increasing youth budge and high preponderance of private sector providers that are yet to be exposed to quality family planning information and services.
“All these parameters may limit the access to quality family planning services which remains a critical issue in Lagos State, as the State strives to ensure universal health coverage for all it’s citizens.
“With the ongoing family planning 2013 recommitment process by the Federal Government of Nigeria, this gathering is critical and coming at a critical time to deliberately involve all the top players to ensure that all loose ends are tied innovatively by leveraging domestic resources, both technical and financial.
“The time to act is now as we need to strategize to actualize the Lagos State of our dreams where every pregnancy is wanted and every woman realizes her potentials”, Johnson said.