The proportion of women of reproductive age who use modern methods of contraception has been historically, but a project in six states is looking to boost the numbers by focus on family planning after childbirth.
The states of Nasarawa, Kaduna, Gombe, Oyo, Cross River and Enugu will be looking to develop a policy to integrate post-partum (after child delivery) family planning into existing health services for women.
The policy targets life moments when women have to use a health facility—during antenatal, during childbirth, during immunisation visits and even after abortion of an unplanned pregnancy.
“Post-partum women are very important. If we capture them after they delivery and come for postnatal, at this point you can use the opportunity to introduce family planning to them,” said Adeleye Adewale, executive director of Balanced Stewardship Development Association (BALSDA) which runs the project.
“We feel that if all these women are captured, it will boost the target of modern contraceptive prevalence rate.”
Nigeria’s target is to ensure at least 25 in 100 women of reproductive age have access to modern contraception by 2020, but only around 17 in 100 women currently do.
Post-partum covers the period up to 12 months after childbirth, and around 17 in 100 women are in this period nationwide.
“The emphasis on post-partum family planning is seen as a very important opportunity,” said Titiduro Aina, of the United Nations Population Fund, which procures Nigeria’s contraception commodities.
“At this stage a lot of woman are easily available to the health care service. It is easy for health workers to engage with women at that period of their life,” she told Daily Trust.
“Improving our modern contraceptive prevalence rate is not an in itself. The result of the effects are enormous. When a woman, family and couple are able to choose when and how many children they want to have, then they will be in a position to take adequate care of those children and free up resources to develop themselves and the economy of the nation.”
BALSDA is still consulting with representatives of the six states listed for the project, with support from FP2020.
It is expected the states—one per geopolitical zone—will develop the policy considering individual peculiarities, and their experience could feed into broader national guidelines eventually.