Family planning

Policymakers and CSOs Advocate for Family Planning to Address Nigeria’s Growing Population

To avoid the population explosion in Nigeria, the country needs to raise awareness about the importance of family planning.

That was the consensus when some members of the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health @Scale ([email protected]), health experts and policy makers came together in a roundtable of a day in Abuja on Tuesday.

The event was organized by the Population Association of Nigeria (PAN) in collaboration with [email protected], a project funded by Bill and Melinda Gates, anchored by the Center for Research and Development Projects (dRPC).

The session started shortly after PAN’s annual conference with the theme; “Rising Wave of Global Insecurity: Meeting Population Needs for Sustainable Development in the 21st Century.”

Speaking at the event, the Director of the Department of Family Health of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Salma Kolo, said that family planning is one of the most effective methods to control population growth. from Nigeria.

Ms. Kolo said most women do not adopt family planning methods due to a lack of awareness.

She said it was important to educate women and girls, especially those in rural communities, that the benefits of using family planning outweigh the risk of not using it. .

“Apart from ensuring the health of the mother, it is a means of empowerment for women and their families. It is also a means of sustainable development and economic empowerment,” she said.

Ms Kolo said it has been scientifically proven that every pregnancy after four children is a risky pregnancy.

“The evidence shows that a mother dies after the fourth pregnancy and that a pregnancy also suffered by a mother over 35 is risky.

“Too early pregnancy due to early marriage is also risky because the girl is grossly immature,” she said.

Population explosion

Several estimates, including that of the National Population Commission (NPC), put the population of Nigeria at around 200 million, a number that is expected to double in less than 25 years if Nigerian women continue to reproduce at the current rate. .

But population growth is not accompanied by economic growth, especially in infrastructure and job opportunities. This has been identified as a major factor in the security, poverty and other crises that have plagued Africa’s most populous country.

The Nigerian government foresaw a population crisis nearly a decade ago and identified family planning as a means of slowing population growth and reducing the high rate of maternal and child mortality.

However, the country is struggling to put a significant number of women on modern contraception.


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To save the day, President Muhammadu Buhari recently launched the Revised National Population Policy for Sustainable Development.

The policy underscores the urgency of addressing Nigeria’s high and sustained fertility rate, by expanding access to modern family planning, counseling and basic commodities, as well as encouraging birth spacing.

Demographic crisis

Ms. Kolo said Nigeria was experiencing a security crisis, poor infrastructure, high level of poverty, among others, in part due to its booming population.

“Are we heading in the right direction in terms of the quality of the children produced? … Nigeria does not have enough resources to cope with the population explosion,” she said.

In her remarks, the executive director of the International Society of Media in Public Health (ISMPH), Moji Makanjuola, said that the consequences of the population explosion, especially for women in the country, are dire.

Ms Makanjuola said there is no state in Nigeria where you don’t see children roaming the streets during the day and young women going out at night.

“As far as us looking at the crises we have; we have to look at the government and make sure they are accountable for the policies they have put in place,” she said.

Involve community leaders

Association for the Advancement of Family Planning (AAFP) Chairman Umar Jabbi said the government must engage traditional chiefs and community leaders to effectively introduce family planning to the people.

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Mr. Jabbi said traditional leaders are the custodians of customs and traditions and help bridge the gap between service providers and community members.

“We sensitize and educate people, we reach out to them through various activities to learn about the benefits of family planning,” he said.

Ms Kolo, Director of the Department of Family Health (FMOH), said the government would continue to work with religious and community leaders, women’s and men’s groups and other stakeholders to address issues of cultural beliefs. .


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