Even though Family planning is a key factor in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, Nigeria still have a long way to go for contraceptives to be accessible to everyone everywhere, and getting it right can help in meeting related targets including education, particularly for women and girls.
World Contraceptive Day is celebrated globally on September 26. The annual campaign centers around making every pregnancy wanted.
This year, African Development and Empowerment Foundation (AfricanDEF) held the first-ever Nigeria Satellite event for the International Conference on Family Planning. The event was held to engage the broader family planning community beyond international delegations joining the conference later this year in Kigali, Rwanda.
Opening the event, Paul Adepoju, Managing Editor, healthnews.africa, elaborated on the increasing rate at which people are searching for abortion tips on the platform. He also shared data supporting a surge in the number of unintended pregnancies in Nigeria.
According to UNFPA, unskilled birth attendants are responsible for over 60% of births in Nigeria, this means over 60% of women in Nigeria do not have access to family planning devices in Nigerian as they patronize the birth attendants who have little or no knowledge about family planning.
“It is always hard to answer their questions on family planning”, said Eyinju Jesu, the Oyo state coordinator of the association of community birth attendants during the event.
Awakan Adeola, the family planning coordinator at Oyo State Primary Healthcare Board said, “the problem of many of the young mothers is listening to different voices and unproven excuses, thereby refusing to make contraceptive decision until it is too late.”
With so many birth control options available, choosing the most suitable type can be discouraging for many young mothers, this, Adeola said, is the reason why it is important to support Nigerian women with answers to their questions on family planning.
In her remarks, the host of the event, Dr. Victoria Adepoju, Executive Director for AfricanDEF said Nigerian youths should not be left out as most of them are already sexually active.
“Let’s stop discouraging young mothers and youth, most of the family planning methods are reversible,” she said.
Other speakers at the event include Alabi Taiwo, Principal Nursing Officer at Oyo state government-owned Adeoyo Maternity Teaching Hospital, Kemi Eludipo, Program Officer for Nigeria urban Reproductive Initiative and Ilori Oladele, Director of Women Programs at the Oyo State Ministry of Women Affairs.
The hallmark of the event was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the integration of community birth attendants into the delivery of family planning services. Under the agreement, AfricanDEF will train community birth attendants on how to provide family planning services including counselling.
On its part, the state government through the ministry of health will integrate the community birth attendants into the state’s family planning ecosystem as last-mile ambassadors in the communities.
The event featured training sessions on the various methods and contraceptive devices available; the community birth attendants were also taught how to access family planning services for the women under their care through AfricanDEF’s help line.
Teaching aids that the birth attendants will use to teach their pregnant women and other community members on family planning were also shared in addition to family planning commodities including male and female condoms and oral contraceptive pills.
A cross section of the birth attendants in attendance said the myths regarding family planning were clarified in addition to empowering them on the delivery of family planning services to women and girls at the grassroots.