Wednesday, September 25, 2019 3:32 pm
Micheal Ajayi and Vivian Ihechu (News Agency of Nigeria )
“It’s Your Life, It’s Your Responsibility’’ is the theme for the 2019 World Contraception Day, aimed to promote the health and welfare of the entire family and in turn the whole community, nation and the world.
World Contraception Day is an annual event commemorated to improve awareness of all contraceptive methods available, and also encourage young people to make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health.
Beyond young people, of whom are the focus for the 2019 celebration, contraception, an integral part of Family Planning (FP), promotes the health and welfare of the entire family and in turn the whole community and nation.
The World Health Organisation says family planning allows individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births.
It is achieved through use of contraceptive methods and the treatment of involuntary infertility.
Experts have also harped on the need for increased awareness and funding for FP as key to improving economic indices, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and harnessing the demographic dividends.
According to a former Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFA), the late Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, access to family planning is so important and a universal marker that affects all spheres of living.
“The availability of family planning affects education prospects and human capital among adolescent girls by preventing teenage pregnancies and enabling girls to stay in school.
“Access to modern contraception reduces the risks of maternal and newborn deaths as well as reducing lifetime parity, and thus, it affects health, life expectancy, and the dependency ratio.
“ It could also improve access to food and reduce hunger by reducing the dependency ratio.
“Urbanisation and population dynamics are intrinsically linked, particularly internal and external migration, which have poverty as a root cause.
“Access to modern contraception can spur the economy, protect the environment, and contribute to overall poverty reduction,’’ he had said.
According to Mr Ayo Adebusoye, Chairman, Public Health Sustainable Advocacy Initiative (PHSAI), family planning is now looked at as an investment.
Adebusoye told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that this is because there was the issue of the demographic dividend, which is basically the economic growth that comes when there is a particular transition in the demography.
“Demography has to do with the age component of the population, where you have enough percentage of the population who are actually working, and that can maintain the dependence for the youthful population of below 15.
“But when you have too much of the youth budge, then you see that there’s lot of dependence; and once that dependency ratio is there, we actually see that a country is susceptible to political instability.
“The country is susceptible to poverty, and of course, a lot of the health indices are on the negative, just as we are experiencing in Nigeria.
“This is because of the uncontrolled and unplanned population we are witnessing.
“We are seeing increasing trends, increasing poverty level, increased child and maternal mortality; these are increasing at a very phenomenal rate.’’
Adebusoye said that 100 years ago, according to British Trade Statistics 1919 that Lord Lugard made available, we were about 17.5 million in Nigeria estimates.
“Now, we’re looking at 100 years later, about 200 million; that’s like ten times of the population; imagine if we continue at that pace, by the end of another 100 years we would be over a billion or two billion.
“And considering that the whole world now is only seven billion. So, what does that say? Already we are seeing the implications,’’ he said.
An increase in human population without the necessary cares, employment, basic amenities and stretched finances result in many negative indices, Adebusoye pointed out.
“We are seeing the rise in human trafficking.
“ In Nigeria, you see our young ones, which was never the case, trying to cross the Sahara Desert and dying there.
“Every day we hear of youths dying in the Mediterranean Sea, trying to cross over to Europe escaping, so to speak, because there is no plan for them.
“We need to identify this emergency situation and tackle it through FP by reducing the number of children that we and the society can cater for.’’
On its impact on health, especially maternal mortality, he said contraception and FP avert thousands of unwanted pregnancies, premature mothers’ death and infants who die prematurely resulting from lack of care.
“A lot of studies done all over the world show that a mother who does not plan for her pregnancy is more susceptible to casualty of serious diseases and ultimately, dying because of no care.
“Similarly, those infants who don’t have any care, they are more liable to be susceptible to early childhood morbidity and mortality.
“So, when you calculate all the costs of trying to take care of the healthcare needs of those unwanted situations, you see that contraception and FP are one very direct way.’’
Adebusoye told NAN that some countries have almost zero per cent maternal mortality.
“That means that nobody is dying because you are trying to give birth, having children is not a disease but here we are very prayerful, and we are always very thankful when the mother survives childbirth.
“So, we actually need to reduce the costs of mothers and children dying just because of no planning.
“Hence, we need policymakers to listen to these cries for the implementation of family planning policies which are already in place.
“There is also the need for increased investment in FP as just 1 dollar investment in family planning can give over 12 times the cost savings through taking care of the child and the mother during delivery and post-delivery care,’’ Adebusoye said.
Also, Mrs Adekoya Abiola, a retired nurse and a family planning facilitator, told NAN that FP allows women to make informed choices about reproductive health, thereby promoting quality of life for the family, children, community and the country.
Abiola, who is also a member of PHSAI, told NAN on the sidelines of a Media Dialogue on Family Planning in Lagos, that there were different methods of family planning.
The media dialogue was organised by Pathfinder International Nigeria.
On the methods of contraception and FP, Abiola told NAN that there were the temporary and permanent methods.
“In the temporary, we have long active and short active; the long active ones include implants which can last between three to five years and the IntraUterine Contraceptive Device (IUCD) which can last for five to 12 years.
“For the short active method, we have the injectables which ranges between one and three months, oral contraceptives and close barrier method which include the male and female condoms.
“For the permanent method, there are the tubal ligation in women and vasectomy.’’
The family planning expert reiterated that family planning was very effective, affordable and safe for men and women, even for the youth and adolescent.
However, she advised that before administering any family planning method, a provider must be knowledgeable to provide different options for either the adolescent or married couples, to give correct and accurate information.
This is so that those who want to make choices would be able to make informed ones.
“They must be have competence to deliver all the methods for people to make choices.
“When this is taken seriously, the issue of unplanned or unwanted pregnancy, will cease to exist and unsafe abortion, which may will lead to sepsis, septicemia and death.
She advocated for people to be sensitised and mobilised for the issue of ignorance, lack of information and misconception to be eradicated.
Lending voice for increased efforts on FP and barriers to access to be broken, the State Team Leader of the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) in Lagos, Dr Omasanjuwa Edun, called for barriers to young people being able to access quality family planning services to be addressed.
He condemned the attitude of providers and their bias against young people.
“The providers need to be aware that for young people, access to quality Contraceptives or Life Planning information and services is not just about being sexually active or abstaining or promiscuity but about reaching their maximum life potential and adding value to the society.
“To achieve this, Adolescents and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health services need to be integrated into all primary healthcare services and provider bias addressed by constantly reminding providers to be youth-friendly through different fora.
“Family planning promotes the health and welfare of the entire family and in turn the whole community and nation.
“It allows the woman to rest between pregnancies in order to regain her health and strength and enable her to have a healthy child and thereby reducing the incidence of maternal mortality in Nigeria.
“Family Planning will allow us to take bold leaps, better life and secured future for all,’’ Edun said.
In conclusion, the family planning experts stressed need for strategies to implement policies on FP, increased funding and access as well as create more awareness on FP usage and benefits.
This is because it is an important key to unlocking sustainable development goals.
Also, it has a long term benefit of breaking the cycle of poverty among families which transcends generations with ripple effects across the new global development agenda. (NANFeatures)