The Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative, NURHI, has called on Nigerians to embrace family planning as a check against unwanted pregnancies while taking cognizance of the present economic situation.
Dr Edun Omasanjuwa, Lagos State team leader for the NURHI, said this during the commissioning of the newly renovated family planning clinic project The initiative which is tagged: “72Hours Family Planning Clinic Make-Over” was not only achieved in Oshodi/Isolo but across other primary healthcare centres in Lagos State.
Other Primary Healthcare Centres which benefited from NURHI initiative include Sango Primary Health Care, Iloro PHC both in Agege LGA; Iyana Ejigbo PHC in Ejigbo LCDA; Oshodi PHC in Oshodi/Isolo LGA; Ilasa PHC (Isolo LCDA); Ikosi-Isheri PHC, Meran PHC; Ketu PHC; Akowonjo PHC; and Isheri-Olofin PHC.
He said the reason behind the 72Hours Family Planning Clinic Make-Over project is for easy access to quality family planning among men and women of reproductive age in Lagos State and in Nigeria.
While explaining the choice of primary healthcare centres that benefited in the project he said: “The selection was done on local government that has the highest number of women of reproductive age and local government that has the highest population. We believe those are the people who are priority on our list, and those are the people we believe need our interventions faster.
“People need to be more aware of the benefits of family planning because it saves life of women. Research has shown that family planning reduces maternal mortality by about 30 to 40 percent. So for every 10 women that normally would have died of complication of pregnancy, family planning stands or provides opportunity to prevent three to four of those women from dying. So people are needs to be aware that family planning is good for them, for the society not just the woman. It saves the lives of the women,” he said while adding that the increase on the awareness creation has brought surge in access to family planning.
He noted that NURHI has been able to bridge the gap between what the renovated facilities have and what they need to carry out proper family planning services after the assessment of the facilities.
Dr. Saratu Olabode Ojo, senior technical adviser, health system strengthening for NURHI also stressed the need for male involvement in family planning saying it is critical.
She explained: “If you look at our community in Nigeria, we tend to have a male dominated type of culture, for that reason we are most blamed when it comes to decision making in the family. First of all, the women will always tell you they want to take permission from their husband. When we promote family planning without the involvement of men or the husband we are breaking up a structure of our homes. But NURHI works within the context of our culture so we promote stronger family and homes. Rather than woman focused or based affair, we want to involve the entire family.
“More so if we don’t carry the male folks along, it will fuel the suspicion and rumours we have with regards to family planning. But the more people get educated and create more awareness among more individuals, both male and female, concerning family planning, the more we are able to discuss the rumours associated with family planning, so that’s why male involvement is critical and quite important in what we do, ” Dr. Ojo said.
In his remarks at the event, the Sole Administrator of Oshodi/Isolo Local Government Area, Hon. Taiwo Taoheed Adebayo, appreciated NURHI for the initiative, while describing the facelift of the centers as a laudable project. He however, promised that the project would be replicated in the remaining centres to enable the community members have a better healthcare service delivery and be more informed about the need to engage in family planning.
In the same vein, Mrs. Jenny Udo, Chief Nursing Officer in charge of Ejigbo facility, while speaking to newsmen at Ejigbo Primary Healthcare acknowledged the importance of family planning in the society. She however, described the facelift of the family planning unit as a welcome development while advising the unmarried, and women under the reproductive age to embrace family planning.
“Normally, ladies who are not married are supposed to abstain from sex until they are married, but we can’t still rule that out. We still have to educate them, especially the children in the secondary school on what planning is all about, and by that we will end up preventing abortion and teenage marriage. And for married women, child spacing is the best so that the whole family will leave happily,” Mrs. Udo advised.