Stakeholders in Niger State have raised the alarm that more women may die from pregnancy complications due to poor funding for family planning and severe funding shortages to Child Spacing Advocacy amidst the Covid-19 pandemic response in the State.
This is as the Government has released only N17.5 million (7 per cent) out of the N250 million budgeted for family planning in the state for the past five years. The stakeholders while sending a warning signal to the state government expressed their fears in a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting of the technical working group on Child Spacing and the Adolescent Youth Reproductive Health in Niger State.
In the communiqué issued by the group and signed by the Project Director of the Centre for Communication and Reproductive Health (CCRHS), Dr. Aliyu Yabagi Shehu, the group expressed fear that Niger State government may not meet the Contraceptive Prevalent Rate (CPR) target of 25 per cent by 2020. The group said the lumping of family planning budget with the budget of other programmes in Niger State health budget, has led to inadequate fund releases to family planning, adding that this has increased possibility of complications and death among women of reproductive age in the state. Furthermore, the group reminded the state government of its 2017 commitment of increasing the state CPR from six per cent to 25 per cent, stating that the Contraceptive Prevalent Rate is the determinant factor to women dying as a result of reproductive health and pregnancy complications.
While allaying fears of how attainable this commitment would be if the Niger State Government did not deem it fit to accord a budget line for family planning as well as if budgetary allocations are not released on time and to the full extent pledged. According to Dr. Yabagi “from 2015 to 2020 about N250 million have been allocated in the state budget to family planning but only N17.5 million have been released making it only seven per cent.
“For Niger State to harvest positive health indicators there is the need to do more for the population in terms of increased funding and access to family planning services and reducing inequities in the health delivery system”. The group therefore, called on the state government to show more commitment towards tackling the rising population growth and curbing the dangers of obstetric complications of women.