By Chioma Umeha
To improve access family planning services in Lagos State and help residents to attain quality life, NURHI began a 72-hour renovation and equipping of clinics in 50 state selected public health facilities in 2016.
A recent tour by journalists to the family planning clinics established by the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) in selected Primary Healthcare Clinics (PHCs) in Lagos State showed that safe childbirths have improved in the areas that benefitted from NURHI gesture.
Mrs. Yetunde Idowu, a 42-year-old mother of three, said that she was happy to access family planning at Itire-Ijesha PHC.Speaking to Independent during the tour which was organised by an NGO, Development Communications (DEVCOMS), Idowu said the clinic is now more conducive.
“I feel at home being counselled and given my preferred method in the clinic.”
She also observed that her body did not accept the implant method and that she had to opt for pills having been tested and counselled.
According to encouraged many women in her neighbourhood to go for family planning as it would help to make the quality of their lives better.
Rukayat Abdullahi told Independent that having accessed a family planning method from the renovated family planning clinic at Ibafon PHC; she had no fear of unwanted pregnancy during sex with her husband.
According to her, she is using implants.
Abdullahi said that she already had four children and wanted a break before thinking of whether to have more.
For Maria Udoh, she was convinced to use a family planning method by a community mobiliser, shortly after the inauguration of the clinic.“The mobiliser told me of the importance of family planning and she made me to understand that it will not stop me from having more children if I wanted.
“Rather, family planning will give me time to recover from the wear and tear of my previous pregnancies and also give me time to work and save money.
“She informed me that family planning will make me to have more time for my children and husband; I talked to my husband and he accepted too.
“My husband is even using condoms while I am using the Intra-Uterine Device (IUD).
“The good thing about this clinic is that the commodities are available and free,’’ Udoh said.
Mrs Chika Ohaeri, a mobiliser at Ibafon and a user, said: “One day, my husband went out to meet friends and somebody talked about family planning.
“He returned and told me to go to the PHC. I went and asked questions.
“I was not aware of family planning prior to that time; it was after my fifth and last child that my husband told me about it. I eventually got an implant that will expire in 2019.
“Initially, I had complications; I bled for two months and eight days; I complained to the PHC and was assured that it was normal.
“Now, I go out to tell people about family planning; many of my friends have embraced it now,’’ she said.
Sade Alade, a 35-year-old mother of two also said that the establishment of the family planning clinic had been helpful to her.
According to her, she accessed a method after counseling and testing.
“Before the renovation of the family planning centre, it was not encouraging coming here.
“There was no privacy and the commodities were not usually available,’’ she said.
“But now, we have a separate room to discuss with the family planning provider and she will tell us the options available to us.
“My husband is in support of my using a method because we do not want to be having children every year, especially when our resources are not robust.
“I advise other women to always go to a PHC and talk with a trained family planning provider before using any method; they should not act based on the experience of other women,’’ she said.
Mrs Cecilia Oluborode, Chief Nursing Officer at Ibafon PHC, told Independent: “There has been an increase in awareness about family planning and its benefits, especially in an economy that is faced with recession.
“Due to the overwhelming increase in the country’s population coupled with limited resources to provide for the needs of the people, there is dire need for family planning advocacy.
“NURHI, which is on its second phase with Lagos State as one of its target locations is partnering with the Ministry of Health in this advocacy.
“So far, the NGO has engaged some of the primary health centres within the state in sensitising the communities on family planning and the response has been commendable’’.
She added: “With the makeover that NURHI gave to the family planning clinic in this PHC, people are now visiting here regularly to access one method or the other.
“Prior to now, we would see three or four persons per month coming to access a family planning method but now, we attend to 15 or more people monthly.
“The men who are also interested in family planning come here and they want to know how they can access it for themselves or their partners.
“NURHI also provided the clinic with free consumables thereby making the family planning procedure free for members of this community.
“This has further encouraged more people to willingly come for counselling, testing and to access any of these planning methods that are free’’.
Also, Ms Sylvia Utulu, a Social Mobilisation Consultant for NURHI in Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Council Development Area (LCDA), lauded the people’ response to family planning, hoping that it would offer them quality life.
“The people’s willingness is overwhelming; as a result, there is little difficulty in reaching them.
“When they hear it is free, it just becomes easy to convince them to use a family planning method.
“Generally, the men request for condoms while the women go for implants which can last up to three to five years.
“The benefits of family planning to the society are enormous and they include fewer cases of unwanted pregnancies and abortions.
“The people’s financial well-being is also improved and this translates to economic growth,’’ she said.
Research has shown that when women give birth continuously over a short period of time, it leads to complications.
Such include much loss of blood, weakness, and higher risks of having miscarriages as the body becomes weak to carry the foetus and may even cause death.
These are among other major causes of maternal and neonatal mortality; however, family planning has over time provided a means of curbing these worrisome incidences.
Commenting, Dr Edun Omasanjuwa, Lagos State Team Leader of NURHI, told Independent that NURHI embarked on the project because of the connection between family planning and quality of life.
He defined Family Planning as “childbirth spacing and having the number of children one can cater for, which is of immense value to maternal health, the economy, sexuality and family life generally.
Under the programme, NURHI took up the facilities in phases, working during the weekends to get the sets ready for inauguration by the following Monday.
Some of the facilities include the Anikulapo PHC in Mushin, Ketu Alapere PHC in Kosofe, Sango PHC in Agege and the Ajeromi General Hospital, Tolu and Layeni PHCs in Ajeromi Ifelodun LGA.
Others are the Shomolu General Hospital, Orile Agege General Hospital, Ibafon PHC in Ajegunle , Itire Ijesha PHC and Lakowe PHC.