By: JULIANA KATUNG, Kaduna
As the country on Wednesday July 11, 2018 joins the rest of the world to mark the world population day, promotion and mainstreaming of information and service delivery on family planning has been identified as one of the key strategies to control the continuous population growth in Nigeria.
“This is especially important for marginalised groups and people in hard to reach areas across the country”.
The Programme Director, Development Communications Network (DEVCOMS), Mr. Akin Jimoh in a statement also asserted that “it is important to establish Youth Friendly Centers dedicated to providing sexual and reproductive health services that meet young people at their point of need rather than resorting to practices that endanger their lives such as abortions.
According to him, these centers should be operated based on elements of full, free, and informed choice with citizens having access to information on all methods of contraceptives (temporary and permanent) and also have the right to make decisions about what service to uptake without coercion and barriers.
He said with Nigeria’s population growing at an unsustainable rate for national development, his organization supports all efforts geared towards addressing the in-balance in the country’s development and the current population of 198 million people, with urban population growing at an average annual growth rate of about 6.5 per cent.
Jimoh noted that according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), family planning is the information, means and methods that allow individuals to decide if and when to have children. Individuals, including women, youths and adolescents right to contraceptive information and services is grounded in basic human rights.
“The obligation for right to health means that healthcare services must be available in sufficient quantity; accessible in ways that are non-discriminatory and ensure that services can be accessed physically and financially; acceptable in the sense of being respectful of the culture of individuals; and of good quality.
“Family planning is a wise investment for national development though with a number of differentials in level of acceptance across the country, that need to be further enhanced for the benefits of Nigerians,” he noted.
The Director stressed the importance for government at all levels to ensure the availability of family planning commodities and consumables in order to advance access to a major means of addressing the country’s population debacle.
His words: “Government should realise that without contraceptive products there will not be a programme to save the lives of women, children and others who need it.
He however called on all stakeholders to collaborate in order to make up for the unmet needs among target groups which according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is high among adolescents, migrants, urban slum dwellers, refugees and women in postpartum period as well as the health workers to play their roles effectively in making reproductive and sexual health services available to those who need it.