Stakeholders in the field of family planning and gender have enjoined the federal government to mainstream gender issues into the family planning policies of the country.
They made the call in Abuja during a meeting on the status and innovations on family planning policies in the states.
Joyce Ahmadu , a gender consultant said that gender analysis of the 2014 Family Planning Blue Print which is presently in use showed that it was gender blind, and needed to be reviewed to be more gender responsive.
She said gender analysis on how gender responsive policies are is used to examine how gender norms, roles and relations affect access to family planning services for men and women.
“There is need to address it so that women can have better access to family planning. Since they are reviewing the policy, they should include the gender issues that were not included before,” she said.
Niger State Family Planning Coordinator, Dorcas Talatu Abu called for increased awareness creation and male involvement in family planning policies and activities so that men could support their wives.
Dr Emmanuel Abanida, Senior Technical Adviser, Development Research and Project Centre (dRPC)
PACFaH@Scale project said gender should be mainstreamed into new policies to achieve maximum outcomes.
He said that people often see family planning issues as women only issues , adding that it involved a gender inter-play where men and women have responsibilities.
According to him, spousal issues still affect uptake of family planning services where men refuse to give permission to their wives .
“There is need to ensure gender balance and participatory decision. There is need to break barriers of discrimination, family incoherence. Even the Patients’ Bill of Rights looks at roles of rights issues in family planning,” said Dr Abanida.
He said that about five family planning documents have been developed by the federal government and that there was need for stakeholders at the state level to be acquainted with them.
Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole who was represented by the Director, Reproductive Health Division of the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Kayode Afolabi said that scaling up family planning intake in the country required not only government efforts but that of all take stakeholders.
He said that family planning helps prevent 30% maternal deaths and 25% under-five mortality rate if fully deployed.
Prof Adewole said that improved funding for family planning is critical to ensuring its success in the country.
While saying that the federal government is working hard to ensure access to family planning services in the country, he said that only 3,000 Primary Healthcare Centres offer family planning services four years ago but now over 12, 000 centres do so.
The minister promised that other emerging issues in the uptake of family planning services in the country would be factored into the review of the policy.