Family Planning: We Are Shifting Attention To Men – PPFN
… Stakeholders Commend NRHJN
… We Need To Keep Training Service Providers
… Help Us Demystify Cultural Stereotypes That Youths Seeking Contraceptives Are Promiscuous
… Still Having Challenges In Supply of FP Commodities – Dr Faruk
… Political Will Is Slowly Rising – Omosehin
… Says FP Is Not Only About Health But Economy
… We Need To Upgrade Our Facilities For SRHS
A clarion call has gone to the Federal Government, states and local government authorities to earmark 1% of their annual health budgets to family planning services.
Also, in order to achieve the set goals in family planning uptake, attention is now being shifted to the menfolk so as to get their buying in, cooperation and support.
The appeal on funding and attention shifting to men came from Dr. Ejike Oji and Dr. Elizabeth Abimbola, Southwest Coordinator of Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria, PPFN, at the webinar held recently by the Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria, NRHJN, to commemorate the 2021 World Contraception Day.
Dr.Omolaso, Blessme Ajani, Lucky Palmer and Mrs. Elizabeth Abimbola at the webinar.
As one of the panelists, Abimbola emphasised the need to keep training and encouraging the service providers.
She also emphasised the urgent need to upgrade all our health facilities for Sexual and Reproductive Health Services, SRHS.
In her opening remark, the chairman of the occasion, Dr Abiola Akiyode Afolabi; Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos and CEO, WARDC commended the Network for its giant strides.
She stated that it’s very important for women to be part of discussions that regulates their body integrity.
And that it’s very significant for women to have control of their reproductive health issues.
“We need more awareness on this. We must commend the Network for what the group is doing but you still need to do more in order to achieve the set goals as access to contraceptives is very important in every woman’s life.” She concluded.
One of the group photographs after the webinar.
Also speaking at the event, the Board of Trustees’ chairman, NRHJN, and CSO Focal Point FP2030, Dr. Ejike Oji went down memory lane on how the network started and commended the network for the role played in ensuring the passage of the VAPP Law and allied health policies.
On finding solution to the funding gap, Dr. Oji called on Federal Government, states and local government authorities to earmark 1% of their annual health budgets to family planning.
Network’s National Secretary, Hajia Sekinah Lawal, Mr Dotun Ajibade and James Oji of DKT, Dr Omolaso and Blessme Ajani
Dr Oji, who is also the Chairman, Association for the Advancement of Family Planning, AAFP, Chairman, Coalition for Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Accountability Mechanism, C4MAN, Chairman Medical Sub Committee, FCT Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee on COVID-19 and CSO Focal person representing all civil societies in Nigeria on the Global Initative to get Family Planning services to additional 120 million women and girls by the year 2030,
therefore called on members of the network to do more reportage on the efforts of all stakeholders in their advocacy works aimed at ensuring increase in uptake of contraceptives and other family planning services for improved health outcomes for women, better economy for families and greater security for the nation at large.
“If we keep producing population that we cannot cater for, our economy and security situations will continue to be in sorry state.”
Another panelist and the Coordinator, Kano State Family Planning Services, Dr. Aisha Sani Faruk revealed that there are still challenges in supplies of family planning commodities and urged those in charge to do the needful.
Consumables are health products – syringes, cotton wool, among others used to administer family planning commodities.
According to her, there’s a dedicated budget line for Family Planning in Kano State’s Health Budget. “And other funding sources are available through other government programmes like Saving A Million Lives.
“With regards to supplies, the issue is not about last mile delivery to service delivery points but there’s a funding gap for procurement even at the national level. And the federalMinistryofHealth developed a guideline for state funded procurement in order to bridge the funding gap.”
“Let’s provide consumables along with FP commodities in order to be able to carry out quality services.” She concluded.
Mr Ibrahim Balogun said that PPFN’s eHealth App for clients can be downloaded from playstore. So also is the youth connect blogsite which is accessible to young specifically for information and service uptake/referral.
In his response to sustainability of family planning services, the Assistant Representative and Head, Lagos office, United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, Dr. Omolaso Omosehin stated that the political will is slowly rising on the part of government.
“Family planning is not only about health but economy. At UNFPA, we are so particular about providing technical and financial assistance on
family planning and reduction of maternal mortality. We also facilitate third-party procurement of essential reproductive health supplies.”
According to Dr Omosehin, delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every
birth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled is very important.
“For us, achieving reproductive health commodity security is very key. This is achieved when
all individuals can obtain and use affordable, quality reproductive
health supplies of their choice whenever they need them.” Dr Omosehin concluded.
Speaking on the sub-theme: “Contraceptives Uptake & Sexual Health Issues in Period of Insecurity (Ensuring Youths Are Safe, not Sorry), the Country Director, Marie Stopes Nigeria, Pharm. Effiom Effiom called on Nigerian Youths to get familiar with various contraceptive methods such as oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices (IUDs), injectable contraceptives, and condoms. Getting to know the different brands of the same contraceptive method, the long-acting reversible contraception – the implant or intra uterine device (IUD), hormonal contraception – the pill or the Depo Provera injection, the barrier methods like condoms, emergency contraception, fertility awareness, permanent contraception – vasectomy and tubal ligation among others.
Pharmacist Effiom presented so many data to buttress the need for increase in uptake of contraceptives most especially among the youths.
In her own contribution, the youth Focal Point FP2030, Blessme Ajani called for more youth involvement in decision-making regarding their reproductive health issues.
“We also need the media to help us demystify cultural issues and stereotypes saying that youths seeking Family Planning are promiscuous.”
“We expect policy makers to meaningfully engage us in programs that affect us too.”
She also urged providers to have adolescent youth responsive Clinics and multi-sectoral collaboration among related ministries like that of health, education, youth and women development.
While urging all stakeholders to work hand in hand with the network, Dr Oji said that doing so many activities without media involvement is like winking in the dark. “The media is the cement that makes the different approaches of other key stakeholders in reproductive health into a whole that can have positive impacts on set objectives.”
“The network played a very key role in getting the VAPP law that seek to curb the incessant cases of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence. So also is your very active roles regarding the midwife service scheme campaign.”
Dr. Oji also reiterated the fact that family planning is one of the most individualised services because of the options it provides.
“There is a package for everybody based on individual’s need. Not having the right information could lead to unwanted pregnancy, which leaves couples with either keeping the pregnancy or sometimes having unsafe abortions that may lead to permanent disabilities or loss of lives.”
According to him, one of the major causes of infertility in Nigeria is unsafe abortion while research has shown that contraception use reduces maternal mortality by 40 percent.
Speaking further, Pharmacist Effiom commended the network for the great works done and is still doing towards ensuring that women and girls have access to quality reproductive health services and called for more awareness creation in terms of all available options opened to them. He supported his claims with recent statistical data to buttress his points.
In his contribution, Ipas Country Director, Lucky Palmer assured Nigerians of Ipas readiness and commitment to keep protecting and expanding access to contraceptives, safe and legal abortion where necessary even in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even with the pandemic, Ipas is working to ensure that abortion and contraceptive care remain essential health services, and that all people can access them. We know that sexual and reproductive health care is often neglected or difficult to access during a crisis, and disrupted supply chains can reduce access to contraceptives and safe abortion supplies. All these factors can in turn drive more people to seek unsafe abortions that risk their health and lives. We can’t let that happen.” Lucky Palmer explained.
Earlier in her welcome remark, the national president of the network, Mrs Yinka Shokunbi said that NRHJN was formed in 2010 because of the existing gap of getting sexual and reproductive health reports and partners’ activities out to the people who really need the information for growth and societal development.
“People meant to be beneficiaries of SRHR programmes never got the right and appropriate messages to make informed decisions that would result in changed behaviour or engage government in demanding for accountability and for a better society.”
“Since inception in 2010, the Network has been involved in various activities of interest such as advocacy for the de-criminalisation of the Abortion Laws in the Nigerian Constitution; Advocacy for the passage and domestication (at state levels) the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Law; Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) Campaign; Campaign to end Endometriosis and Rights to Fertility Treatment; Advocacy for Availability of Family Planning Commodities, End to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting and other Harmful Traditional Practices; Access to Breast and Cervical Cancers Prevention, Care and Treatment among several other reproductive health issues that affect women and girls and people with disabilities in Nigeria.”
“Over the past ten years, the Network continues to build on strength of its members to further support the society as the solution voice.
“Today’s event is a testament of what we do and will continue to do in our ten years of trudging on. We have brought key partners in government, providers, CSOs,FBOs, academia and we ourselves, media practitioners under this room to discuss and channel solutions to issues of contraception and contraceptives in the midst of covid-19 pandemic, insecurity and how young people can stay safe and not be sorry in life.
“For us as Network of Reproductive Health Journalists, we believe that when we bring an array of people like we have today, to jaw jaw, it is part of taking ownership of the raging issue. We are not restricting ourselves to the back of the burner to merely report what is happening, but we see ourselves as part of proffering solutions”, she explained.
Also, she condemned the current alarming state of insecurity in the country because as kidnappings, abductions go on daily and young girls fall victims of rape, sexual violence and the likes.
“All inputs presented during the meeting would be published into a compendium to mark our 10th anniversary and to give back to the society a legacy from the stable of reproductive health writers and our perspective on how to be solution Journalists.” She concluded.
Representing the network at the panel discussion, Madam Elizabeth Carr of Bauchi Television and the Bauchi State Coordinator of the network assured all stakeholders of the readiness and commitment of members of the network to continue to partner with all in order to achieve the FP2030 targets and objectives.
DKT Country Director- Dimos Sakllaridis was represented by Dotun Ajibade and James Oji who gave a graphic description of the company’s interventions in the area of contraceptives.
“At DKT, despite all odds and the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic, we are committed to ensuring that women and men can still access contraception and safe abortion products during these uncertain times. In 2020, an estimated 49 million couples relied on our products, making DKT one of the world’s largest providers of family planning, HIV/AIDS prevention and safe abortion products and services. And our sales teams will continue getting our products into clinics, pharmacies, and shops in order to protect sexual and reproductive health and rights.”