Speaking at the event, the FCT Secretary, Health and Human Services, Dr. Ademola Onakomaiya represented by Dr. Vincent Iwere commended the efforts of NURHI. He said their advocacy and initiative support is the reason barriers to family planning have been drastically reduced in the two area councils.
Deputy Project Director, Dr. Bola Kusemiju stressed that there was need for more awareness to be raised regarding the fact that family planning can reduce maternal mortality and infant mortality rates by up to thirty per cent. “From our research we found out that most women and their spouses only know about condoms and don’t know that there are other ways they can control births and prevent unplanned pregnancies. Also, where some are enlightened enough to know, the facilities are not available. But where we give counseling and education on these, we find the challenge of women wanting to gain permission of their husbands before taking on any method or the difficulty of spouses not being able to freely discuss family planning.”
According to him, these are areas they are looking up to more collaborations with stakeholders to enable individuals in need have the facilities available as at when needed.
At the gathering where the publications of the research were unveiled Team leader, Dr. Adetokunbo Olatunji explained that with the FCT experiencing overcrowding in human traffic at an annual growth rate of 9.3, the population of the urban poor is on the rise and women in this category have little or no access to family planning commodities. Some he said do not even know of other contraceptives other than condoms.
“Although about thirty percent of Abuja women use modern contraceptive methods,” Dr. Olatunji said, “It is possible to increase this use by about twenty per cent and make it as available as Coca Cola.”
He informed that as at 2009, the FCTA reports revealed that one thousand nine hundred and twenty six women die from childbirth and as of today only 20.8 per cent are currently on family planning facilities or child spacing methods.
The organisation called on the media and all stakeholders to join in the advocacy and increase the awareness of family planning methods and their availability.
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