Facilities in Nigeria are beginning to face challenges of contraceptive scarcity because more Nigerians are beginning to opt for the use of contraceptives and family planning commodities.
This is contained in the Family Planning Watch, being a survey jointly coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Health and Society For Health, with support from Population Study International.
During the FP National Dissemination Agenda held in Abuja, the survey warned that if not checked, the challenge will negatively affect not only the wellbeing of Nigerians, but it will also prevent the country from meeting its Family Planning 2020 target.
The Chief Strategist Technical Officer, SFH, Dr. Jennifer Anyanti, in an interview with journalists, said one way the Federal Government could tackle family planning stockout was to collaborate with private facility owners.
She said, “One thing that we did consider with the government was, maybe, if there could be a way the government could partner with civil society organisations and NGOs that own health facilities, with a promise to supply them free family planning products.
Nigeria is the seventh largest population in the world, with a fertility rate of 5.5, meaning that the average Nigerian family in the productive stage will have an estimated five or six children.
“This does not only lead to increased population, it may also task scarce resources, while it may also affect the health of the family, especially women and children.
“As women get pregnant continuously, they are faced with risks, which lead to morbidity and sometimes, mortality,” Anyanti warns, quoting medical sources.
A Professor of Obstetrics/Gynaecology and Country Director, Jhpiego Corporation, Emmanuel Otolorin, said complications arising from illegal abortion also contribute to the rate of maternal mortality in Nigeria.
He said, “Each year, Nigerian women obtain approximately 610,000 abortions, a rate of 25 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44.”
This, according to him, means that girls are having unplanned and unwanted pregnancies which could be prevented through the use of contraceptives or any suitable family planning commodity or, at best, through abstinence.
Speaking on the occasion, the Director, Head of Reproductive Health Division at the FMoH, Dr. Kayode Afolabi, said the use of family planning commodities has helped in preventing over three million unwanted pregnancies; while at the same time averting over 19,000 maternal deaths between 2011 and 2015.
He encouraged stakeholders to continue to invest in family planning as it also brings good returns.
“The total cost of investment in contraceptives in this period was $57.149m, and it has the potential of helping government to save $641m, representing 11-fold return on investment,” Afolabi stated.