Tunji Ilelaboye, Sole Administrator, Agboyin-Ketu Local Council Development Area of Lagos, has called for more commitment of stakeholders to family planning to achieve its goals. Ilelaboye made the call in Lagos at a Town Hall Meeting on Family Planning organised in Somolu LGA of Lagos by a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) – Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative 2 (NURHI 2).
“The purpose of this gathering is to enlighten the populace, both male and female of childbearing age, on the benefits of family planning. “We have been paying lip service to issues on family planning, but now is the time to address them; this is what NURHI 2 is spearheading in Lagos State and the entire Nigeria.
“What they have done so far is going around all the local government areas through the Primary Health Centres (PHCs) to improve their family planning units. “It is expected that people should access informed family planning services with ease from providers who are knowledgeable,’’ he said.
Ilelaboye urged the three tiers of government to pay more attention to funding and equipping of PHCs.
According to him, PHCs are nearer to the downtrodden for access to healthcare services.
Dr Ajoke Ashiru, Chairperson, Inter-faith Coalition Group, NURHI 2, said that the NGO was targeting women of childbearing age – from age 15 to age 49 – in its advocacy for family planning. She urged more involvement of traditional, community, religious and market leaders in the advocacy.
“These play important roles in decision making, and we believe in them,’’ Ashiru, also President , Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), said. She urged religious leaders to talk about family planning during sermons.
According to her, some of the benefits of family planning include child spacing, which enables a woman to recover fully from a previous pregnancy and delivery before having another child.
She added that family planning promote's family bonding and helped families to grow financially, thereby paving way for a healthy family and nation.
Mrs Olanike Soremikun, a Family Planning and Reproductive Health Manager in Somolu, noted that more people were seeking and accessing family planning services in the local government area.
“In most of the PHCs, an average of 16 acceptors used to come to access one method or the other, but now, the rise has been as much as 40 and 50.
“There is more awareness; this is why we started this programme for different stakeholders to educate communities. “Most of these stakeholders may not be users, but they have daughters, daughters-in-law, neighbours and people in their communities that really need this services and information,’’ Soremikun said.
She urged participants at the meeting to educate more women and men on the need for family planning.