Experts Worry About Myths, Misconceptions Against Family Planning

•Task Media To Propagate Accurate Information

Chioma Umeha

There is increasing concern about how to reverse the current low Contraceptive Prevalence rate (CPR) and curb growing maternal deaths in the country.
Every day, 111 women die from pregnancy related issues can be blamed on five major causes of maternal mortality, viz: haemorrhage, hypertension, infection, abortion complications and obstructed labour.
Fortunately, experts have confirmed that investment in family planning (FP) would reduce the rate of maternal deaths by 30 per cent.
Already, the Federal government has intensified campaigns to increase uptake of family planning commodities and services with the formulation of the new policy to increase the CPR from 15 per cent to 27 per cent by 2030.
In Lagos state, the goal is increase CPR to 74 per cent by 2020.
However, some traditions, misconceptions among other factors have continued militate against adequate Family Planning uptake, especially on Modern Contraceptive Prevalent Rate (MCPR) in the state.
Recently, Dr. Jide Idris, the Commissioner for Health, identified myths and misconceptions as part of the major barriers to the uptake of FP services in the state.
Idris who spoke at a three-day workshop on Advance Family Planning (AFP) Smart Media Advocacy by the Pathfinder International in Lagos, Dr. Idris called for collaboration among all stakeholders from every sector to improve FP services.
The workshop was geared towards acquainting journalists on advocacy strategy to increase the uptake of Modern Contraceptive Prevalent Rate (MCPR) in the state.
The Commissioner who was represented by the Director, Family Health Unit, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Folashade Oludara, listed some traditions and misconceptions militating against adequate Family Planning uptake, especially MCPR in the state.
In some instance, Idris said, “Some people told our FP team in one of their sensitisation programmes that family planning is bad and as a woman, you need to bring out all the eggs God has given you by birthing, else it would turn to cancer.”
“There are communities we go to in Lagos State that vehemently refuse immunisation and life-saving commodities, saying it is government’s ploy to make their children infertile and family planning is not left out,” he explained.
He added that some benefits of FP include; child spacing, high productivity of the mother, improved quality life of the children as well as the family.
The commissioner further tasked the media to ensure propagation of accurate information on Family Planning.
The  Lagos State Ministry of Health boss said, “Media needs to spread the correct information at all times, and not confuse the people the more.”
He therefore charged the media to help change these myths and misconceptions surrounding the usage of FP services in the country in order to increase its uptake and safe women from dying from preventable causes.
On her part,  Dr. Okaga Sidiat, Coordinator Family Planning, Lagos State Ministry of Health, who was accompanied Dr. Oludara to the training announced that Lagos would soon enter into some community health campaigns which media could help in propagating.
Also, Dr. Okaga urged media practitioners to always approach her office for confirmations and clarifications where necessary.
This, she said would forestall any misinformation, hence Pathfinder is trying to close this gap with this workshop.
She observed 60 per cent of health care services in the State are delivered by the private health facilities, while 40 per cent by the public health care services.
She added; “We recognise that we need to strengthen the private health providers and what we did was to scale up FP services in these facilities by benchmarking the amount been charged to their clients.”
Also speaking, Dr. Habeeb Salami of Pathfinder International said, “the contribution that family planning gives to reducing Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) is huge and that is the best investment any government can give to reducing these deaths.
He said the strategic meeting is aimed at building media advocacy that will yield results as well as building media capacity to talk about health generally with focus on FP, stating that, “when the power of the media is harnessed, Lagos state can achieve its plan on FP.
“In 2015 and 2016, when we had a media dialogue, we noticed that there is a lot of information on FP that health journalists do not have and building their knowledge base will help in dispelling these myths and misconceptions.”


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