Nigeria has set a 36 per cent contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) target to be achieved by 2020. Experts said removing various obstacles that hinder interested persons from adopting and using family planning would go a long way to enable the country meet the set target. APPOLONI A ADEYEMI reports
Family planning allows people to attain their desired number of children and determine the spacing of pregnancies. It is achieved through the use of contraceptive methods and the treatment of infertility.
Promotion of family planning – and ensuring access to preferred contraceptive methods for women and couples – is essential to securing the well-being and autonomy of women, while supporting the health and development of communities.
Yet, millions worldwide still do not have access to contraceptive services that they need and want. Making family planning commodities as well as consumables available and easily accessible also increase the number of persons that adopt and use them.
However, barriers such as nonavailability of consumables such as syringes, cotton wool, hand gloves or a cost attached to these consumables often pose a serious challenge in the acceptance of family planning among women of reproductive ages of 15 and 49. Consumables are health products – syringes, cotton wool, among others used to administer family planning commodities.
When the New Telegraph visited Ikorodu Local Government Council Area (LGA), Lagos State recently during an advocacy activity organised by Family Planning Media Advocacy Working Group in collaboration with Public Health Sustainability Advocacy Initiative PHSAI), it was observed that there was a huge gap in the supply of family planning consumables in the area.
Mr. Bashiru Raheem, the secretary, Community Development Committee, CDC Ikorodu West, said during a dialogue with some community leaders at Ikorodu that there is an irregular supply of family planning consumables in the area.
Raheem said; “As at now, we don’t have consumables.
But efforts are being made to make them available.”
Raheem, who is an active advocate of family planning, said that he carried out advocacy in the community to educate women and men about the importance of family planning in the family as well as the country at large. Mrs. Mojisola Akande, a community leader from Gbeshi Primary Healthcare Centre, Ikorodu was worried about some challenges faced in the community.
Akande said; “We don’t have enough staff in the PHC. All the various types of family planning commodities and consumables are not always available”
But, she said, “We make our complaint during stakeholders meeting through the health educator in General Hospital Ikorodu and supplies are made.”
Akande added that some family planning users do complain about the preferred method, stating that, “some women complain that when they use the coil, they do bleed and some say that, when they use the injectables, they have irregular menstruation.
“We always counsel them that there are different methods, depend ing on one’s body type. We advise for a change of method if the previous one is not compatible with their body.
“These women, see us, the community leaders and family planning advocates as examples. We live in the same community with them and they see how we give birth to our children. We don’t have too many children unlike them that give birth every year.
“They admire us and we, the leaders encourage them to use family planning.”
In response to the issues of consumables, the Health Educator, Ikorodu Local Government area, Mrs. Jakande Lawal, said whenever there were no consumables, a report was written to the appropriate quarters and supply was made, stressing that clients do not pay or buy consumables.
Citing an example, Lawal said, “Let’s take Itelewa Primary Healthcare Centre as an example. Whenever there is any shortage of consumables, we write a report to the Medical Officer of Health (MOH), and it is being channeled to the appropriate quarters.”
As part of her duty, the health educator said it was to carry out health activities in the community, including having a stakeholders’ meeting concerning any health issue as well as educating and sensitising people on the importance of healthy living.
Also commenting, Mrs. Sulaiman Iyabode, the family planning manager, Ikorodu, said; “In November 2018, when I took over this position, there was stock out of implants family planning method and information was passed to the family unit coordinator in the Lagos State Ministry of Health and an emergency supply of Implants was made.
“Twice, we have had stock out of implants and supplies made but the supply was not enough. We were given 50 in the first time and 60, the second time; it was not enough as it was exhausted immediately.”
However, the Family Planning Manager said, there has been an improvement in the usage of contraception, but lamented that more could have been done if not for the stock-out of implants.
She also said, more women in Ikorodu prefered the implants as awareness for the method was high, stating, “though we counsel them on their preferred method, if there were no Implants, some of the women opt for the injectables.”
On the scarcity of consumables, Iyabode revealed that the supplies made by the state Ministry of Health is usually not enough, “if we have to do implants for like 30 to 40 clients in a month, the consumables provided cannot be enough, so whenever the consumables finishes, we inform the MOH for more supplies.”
Also, to achieve the 36 per cent national contraceptive prevalent rate (CPR) target, state governments also set targets for themselves. Lagos state, therefore, projects to contribute its quota to achieving the global target of family planning by 2020, despite its teeming population occasioned by the influx of more people into the state on a daily basis.
In view of contributing to the national CPR target, Lagos State made a commitment to increase its CPR to 74 per cent by 2020.
As 2020 fast approaches, it is obvious that family planning is assuming fresh acceptance by some women in Lagos state, despite unmet demands due to lack of consumables.