Experts have called on Nigerian government to honour pledges it made to ensure at least 27 in 100 women of reproductive age get access to services they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies by 2020.
The Association for the Advancement of Family Planning (AAFP) has drawn up government commitments in the past as a reminder how well the country is moving toward controlling its population.
It comes months after Nigeria last September launched a new four-year to change how family planning is communicated and the “Green Dot”—the new logo for family planning services nationwide.
The commitment will see Nigeria increase annual allocation to contraceptives to around $4 million and ensure total disbursement of some $56m to states through its Global Financing Facility and International Development Assistance loans.
The question is: what are we doing about these commitments and getting the message out,” said Ejike Oji, chair of AAFP board and a national focal person for the FP2020 movement.
A large proportion of funding for contraceptive commodities and staff training comes from international partners.
The renewed thrust for family planning has been linked to the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and the struggle to attain demographic dividend by careful planning to reduce dependent population and increase productive population.
Some experts have suggested deliberate limit on number of children couples can have, considering their economic ability—but have balked at how drastic population-control laws backfired in China.
“We are already overpopulated,” said Asmau Joda, on the AAFP board. “Every child extra is actually a lot. But we need to talk.”
Dr Oladapo Ladipo, president of the Association for Reproductive and Family Health, is among experts who have consistently spoken of the benefits of smaller family sizes.
“There is wisdom in not having more than four children. The benefit is for the woman, the family and the society,” Ladipo said.
“We need to moderate our population growth to a level where we will benefit from the demographic dividend—where each family will have small extra money for investment that will support their need, guarantee good quality life, education, access to quality health services, good nutrition. We can only do that if we moderate our population.”