Family planning

Nigeria: Donor Funding for Family Planning Drops $10 Million in 3 Years

Donor contribution to the family planning fund basket in Nigeria has increased from $14.03 million in 2018, $8 million in 2019 to $4 million in 2020, even as the federal government allocation does not did not exceed $4 million, LEADERSHIP audits revealed.

Although identified as an important tool in the prevention of child and infant deaths, unwanted pregnancies, unsafe births, unsafe abortions and maternal deaths, LEADERSHIP findings show that family planning budgets are not released or released late, thus achieving the set objectives. remain unrealistic.

It will be recalled that the Federal Government had a target in 2012 to increase the modern contraceptive prevalence rate (mCPR) to 36% by 2018. However, on July 11, 2017, at the Family Planning Summit in London , this target was rebased on 27% by 2020.

Meanwhile, two years later, the modern contraceptive rate in the country remains at 12%.

With the steady decline in donor funding, coupled with the unmet need for modern methods of contraception in 2021 (which was 12.3% of all women), the call for government at all levels to increase domestic funding for better access to family planning services has been enhanced.

A Professor/Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist, College of Medicine, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Professor Christopher Aimakhu, said that while all the unmet need for modern contraception in the country is met, unwanted pregnancies would fall by 77%, from 2.5 million to 555,000 per year. He added that the annual number of unplanned births would drop from 885,000 to 200,000 and the number of abortions would drop from 1.3 million to 287,000.

Aimakhu, who spoke at a three-day training for media professionals in Nigeria, organized by the Rotary Action Group for Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health, said that to achieve this, Nigeria would need $546 million each year for contraceptive services for all women.

“Meeting the modern contraceptive need of all Nigerian women who wish to avoid pregnancy would cost $546 million per year.

“Fully meeting women’s needs for contraceptive services and maternal and newborn health care in Nigeria would cost a total of $5.0 billion per year – $26.09 per capita – a total that is roughly the same cost as meeting maternal and neonatal care needs alone,” he explained.

The Director of the African Center of Excellence for Health and Population Policy, Bayero University, Kano, Prof. Hadiza Galadanchi said that while family planning is one of the most effective ways to address the challenges of maternal morbidity and mortality, the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) in Nigeria has remained at 17% for several decades, which is the lowest in the world.

She said there are many women who want contraceptives but cannot get them, adding that “unmet need is real, we did a study across Nigeria. Almost 30% of women in l ‘Lagos State use traditional methods of family planning’.

In her response, the Director of the Family Health Department of the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Salma Ibrahim Anas, told LEADERSHIP that Nigeria has had a family planning budget at the national level since 2011, when the government began contributing to the basket fund for supply. of family planning products, while other partners also provided support.

Anas revealed that in 2012, after the Family Planning Summit in London, the former Minister of Health made an additional commitment by increasing the budget from $3 million to around $4 million, adding that since then , the federal government was working to meet this commitment.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it has had on the Nigerian economy, the director said the Ministry of Finance last year approved $4 million for the purchase of family planning commodities under the 2021 budget and that it would also affect the same for the 2022 budget.

She revealed that the money is not going directly to the Ministry of Health but to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the agency responsible for procuring family planning commodities.

“We know that the $4 million is not enough to provide family planning services to Nigerian women, other partners have also contributed,” she added.

As donor funding dwindles, Anas said, “At this time, we strongly advocate that states also contribute to the fund basket for the purchase of family planning commodities, as this saves lives. I am happy to mention that 10 states of the 36 states plus FCT have committed to purchasing these products and we are working with them to see how they also contribute to pooled funding,” she revealed.

Regarding sensitization, she said, “This year, we plan to raise more awareness among traditional and religious leaders. We also plan to start engaging with traditional leaders and focus on birth spacing. We have more maternal deaths than COVID-19, but most of them go unreported. Every life is important and every death of a woman or a child must be taken into account.

Meanwhile, Program Manager, Reproductive Health/Family Planning, Yusuf Nuhu told LEADERSHIP that Kebbi, Nasarawa, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Benue, Kwara, Lagos, Oyo, Cross River and Taraba states are among states that have specific family planning programs. budget lines, while calling on other States to follow this example.

He also emphasized that while FP-specific allocations are important, timely release and use of funds is very crucial to ensure service delivery. He called on all relevant stakeholders to ensure action and commitment from decision makers to ensure the timely release of budgeted funds.

However, joining the global movement, the federal government last week launched the Family Planning 2030 (FP2030) commitment and the release of other reproductive health policy documents.

Speaking at the launch in Abuja, Minister of Health Dr. Osagie Ehanire said the event was an opportunity for stakeholders to build on efforts under the FP2020 initiative.

He said, “We are committed to continuing the journey toward the FP2030 Partnership Initiative and setting in motion the process of charting a course toward long-term, sustainable family planning services as an integral part of the whole reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, Adolescent and Elderly Health Plus Nutrition (RMNCAEH+N) programming, which is a core part of our vision to achieve universal coverage of health care, leaving no one behind. »

Acknowledging that the improvement made so far is slow with huge gaps in unmet need for contraceptives, Ehanire expressed the federal government’s commitment to closing the gaps.

“We are aggressively stepping up our actions and efforts, especially at sub-national levels to steer the trend in the right direction and close the gaps.

“Efforts are underway to mobilize additional domestic resources and harness the potentials existing within our large but young population through concerted and coordinated efforts of multi-sector actors in health, women’s affairs, education and gainful employment, including the humanitarian crisis such as insecurity has had a negative impact on the health education of girls and adolescents,” he explained.