Family planning allows people to attain their desired number of children and determine the spacing of pregnancies. It is achieved through 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 the contraceptive services that they need and want.
Making family planning commodities as well as consumables available and easily accessible also increases its uptake.
However, barriers such as non-availability of consumables such as syringe, cotton wool, hand gloves or a cost attached to these consumables often pose serious challenge in the acceptance of family planning among women of reproductive ages of 15 and 49.
A recent visit by DAILY INDEPENDENT to Ikorodu Local Government Area (LGA), Lagos State during an advocacy activity organised by Family Planning Media Advocacy Working Group in collaboration with Public Health Sustainability Advocacy Initiative PHSAI) shows that there is a huge gap in the supply of family planning consumables in the area.
Mr. Bashiru Raheem, the secretary, Community Development Committee, CDC Ikorodu West, told DAILY INDEPENDENT during a dialogue with some community leaders at Ikorodu that there is 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 carries out advocacy in the community to educate women and men about the importance to 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 on 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 these different methods depend on one’s body type. We advise for a change of method if 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 are no consumables, a report is written to the appropriate quarters and a supply is 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 is to carry out health activities in the community, including having a stakeholders meeting concerning any health issue as well as educating, 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 were 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 lament that more could have been done if not for the stock out of implants.
She also said, more women in Ikorodu prefers the implants as awareness for the method is high, stating that, “though we counsel them on their preferred method but if there were no Implants, some of the women opt for the injectables.”
On 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 27 per cent national CPR target, state governments also gave themselves target.
Lagos state therefore projects to contribute its quota to achieving the global target of family planning by year 2020, despite its teeming population occasioned by influx more people on a daily basis.
In view of contributing to the national Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) target, Lagos state made a commitment to increasing its CPR to 74 percent 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.