In commemoration of the World Contraception Day which holds on the 26th of September annually, experts in the reproductive health sector have made cases for an improvement of awareness of contraception.
This according to them will enable women to make informed decisions on their sexual and reproductive rights in order essence plan the timing and spacing of their births.
In her comments, Mrs Charity Ibeawuchi, Senior Technical Advisor, Advocacy for Nigeria Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) noted that the health of the women, particularly those of reproductive age (15 – 49 years) in Nigeria stands out with the silent epidemic of poor maternal mortality and morbidity.
She said “Twenty three percent of our teenage girls (age 15-19) are already mothers or pregnant with their first child. Half of our teenage girl population are already married by age 18, while 61% are married by age 20 (National Demographic and Health Survey Report 2013). Women in Nigeria have an average of 6 children”. She noted.
Speaking on the low uptake of Family Planning methods in Nigeria, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Prof Oladosu Ojengbede acknowledged that the wide knowledge of Family Planning methods has not translated to its uptake.
“Religious connotation seems to draw us back and cultural issues such as the men not supporting family planning, community misconceptions about family planning, religious undertone to family planning and also the failure to build enough confidence in the people to access quality services needed for family planning.”
The experts recommend political commitment backed by adequate and sustained funding of family planning programmes and a working environment with the traditional-religious structures to dispel the myths, misconceptions, traditional and religious biases.