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Health News of Sunday, 27 November 2022


Family Planning: Nigeria lagging behind in achieving SDGs -- Gynaecologists

The photo used to illustrate the story The photo used to illustrate the story

Gynaecologists under the aegis of the Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SOGON) have expressed worries over poor family planning services in the country.

The group noted that in the aspect of Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), Nigeria is left behind in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speaking during a press briefing in Abuja on Saturday, the President of SOGON, Habib Sadauki, said the set time for achieving SDG is fast approaching but the indices related to reproductive health are still far from reaching the target.

The SDG 3 aims to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” The declaration emphasises that to achieve the overall health goal, ‘we must achieve Universal Health Coverage and access to quality health care.

Mr Sadauki said Nigeria’s Maternal Mortality Rate is still among the highest in the world, with an estimated 512 deaths per 100,000 live births.

“This is nowhere near the SDGs target of 70 per 100,000 Live births,” he said.

The press briefing is part of activities for the 2022 scientific conference of the association.

It was supported by the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health @ Scale, anchored by the development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC), and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Increased fundingWith only 22 per cent of women using any method of Family Planning (FP), Mr Sadauki said there is still a lack of access to and utilisation of these services.

He said to reduce maternal and newborn deaths in the country, family planning must be prioritised.

Mr Sadauki said for the country to achieve health for all by 2030, there is a strong need to increase investment in FP.

He lamented that there was no budget line for FP in 2022, a decision that has set the country back on reproductive health.

He said although FP was reintroduced in the 2023 proposed budget, the timely release of the funds will help the country close in on some existing gaps.

Mr Sadauki also appeals to the National Assembly to provide, in their oversight function, more funding for reproductive health.

“Health systems need innovative strengthening to ensure universal access to quality SRHR. This includes addressing the Human Resources for health issues arising from brain drain,” he said.

Family planning

The benefits of family planning are obvious: it allows women to space childbirth and replenishes vital nutrients lost during the process. It also allows the organs of mothers to return to normal.

The adoption of FP is considered one of the best ways to prevent maternal mortality and more than 90 per cent of maternal deaths are said to be preventable if women do the right thing, the director of family health at the Federal Ministry of Health, Salma Kolo, had said at an event.

Ms Kolo said at least 40,000 women in Nigeria lose their lives to pregnancy-related issues annually. She also said over one million children under the age of five dies as a result of losing their mothers to pregnancy delivery complications.

According to Ms Kolo, if a mother dies of childbirth complications, the chance of the child surviving is slim.

“To end this menace, women especially those in rural communities must embrace family planning,” she said.