By Chioma Umeha
To mark the world contraception day on Tuesday, a non-governmental organisation, Development Communications (DEVCOMS), has revealed that about 46 million abortions are performed in Nigeria every year.
In a release, DEVCOMS explained that unplanned pregnancies can have huge impact on the individuals, as well as, their partners’ lives, hence the need to use contraceptives as protection.
“Sex can be fun, pleasurable, and fulfilling part of life, but without protection, it can lead to Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) and unplanned pregnancies,” the statement said.
It added that contraception prevents unsafe abortion, which has become a persistent, preventable pandemic and remains one of the most neglected sexual and reproductive health problems in the world today.
According to National Demographic Health Survey 2013, the prevalence rate for contraceptive use in Nigeria is only 15 per cent. “This is very low in spite of the high rate of sexual activity and widespread awareness of the various contraceptive methods among Nigerian men, women, adolescent and youths”, the survey stated.
Ikeoluwa Otudeko, Head of Programmes for Devcoms, called for increase in sexual and reproductive health education, information on the various methods of contraception, interpersonal/peer-to-peer communication and improvements in healthcare services delivery.
However, in order to prevent abortion, and other maternal health complications, Mrs. Charity Ibeawuchi, Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) Senior Technical Advisor on Advocacy, urged increased uptake of modern family planning methods.
Ibeawuchi said: “Family planning plays a major role in improving maternal, new-born and child health. Family planning helps to avoid the proven challenges women face in pregnancy/ child birth when they are too young and too old in age and/or when pregnancies are too close and too many.
“Successful family planning programmes improve quality of life whilst significantly contributing to demographic dividends and national development.
“Presently, of utmost importance is the need for adequate information to correct some of the myths and misconceptions and break barriers surrounding contraceptive use in Nigeria, most especially with the high rate of teenage pregnancies.”
Speaking on 2017 WCD theme, which is: It’s your life, it’s your future, know your body,” Mrs. Iwalola Akin-Jimoh, the Executive Secretary, Youth Empowerment Foundation, tasked teenagers, women and youths to take responsibility for their sexual and reproductive health.