How Men Are Frustrating Use Of Family Planning In Badagary Community
Apart from limited choice and access to methods, fear of side effects, poor quality of services, myths and misconceptions, men’s poor dispositions are part of the factors militating against successful family planning programmes in Badagry Community.
These are the emerging facts recently from an advocacy visit to Badagry Local Government Area of Lagos State, organised by Media Advocacy Working Group (MAWG), in conjunction with Public Health Sustainability Advocacy Initiative (PHSAI). In fact, absence of men’s support for women to use modern contraceptive methods was discovered to be responsible for increase in unplanned pregnancies, among other reproductive health challenges. Their non-acceptance of reproductive health programmes such as contraceptive and safer sexual behaviours account largely to low patronage of family planning in the community.
It goes without saying that Nigeria cannot achieve increase in the Modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (MCPR) to 27 percent by 2020, if ways to promote male participation in family planning are not devised.
Evangelist Ezekiel Olarewanju Ogunyemi, Community Development Council, CDC, member of Olorunola, Ibereko community, Badagry attested to men’s refusal to participate in matters concerning family planning making it impossible to access any method.
He told DAILY INDEPENDENT that whenever there was a community programme that is focused on family planning issues some of the women attend without their husbands.
“That is why I have taken interest in that programme “Sheri Gbo,” a family planning programme on Radio Lagos to help influence more men in modern contraception usage as well as give more publicity to it. I use ‘Sheri Gbo’ to settle the issues related to family planning. I urge the organisers to make the programme more interesting,” he said.
Similarly, Alhaji Kolade Ogungbe, CDC Badagry West, acknowledged the benefit of family planning, saying “I have two children and I don’t want more than that, because I want to take good care of them.”
He advised couples to take communication seriously as it is crucial to the success of the programme. “Where a couple desires different number of children, all they need to do is to talk it over and come to an agreement as to the number.”
Corroborating, Mrs. Toviho Caroline Kofoworola, Leader for Ejo Meji, Badagry Community Development Association (CDA), who is also on a contraception said that some women access family planning without their husband’s consent because of their lack of support.
She said; “Not all men like family planning especially, a method that is visible. But a woman that is wise should go to the centre for family planning tablet, coil or injection. The coil is like a rope, but if the husband accepts it, there is no cause for alarm.”
She advised women whose husbands detest use of modern family planning methods to secretly go to a centre and demand from family planning officers in charge, a method that won’t be noticeable by their husbands.
She said; “We have injectables, tablets because husbands who don`t want their wives to use any method, will always search their wives bags. When they see anything like tablets, they will ask and begin to quarrel over it.”
“The woman knows what she is facing; she knows she is in trouble if she continues to give birth every year. If she wants to save her life and don’t want to die at a young age, she should be wise.”
Kofoworola regretted that some men though highly educated, lack understanding of these issues. She urged family planning officer to embark on vigorous sensitisation to educate the men on the need for them to support their wives to access family planning methods available.
Elder Kuponu Ebenezer, Chairman, Community Development Council, Badagry LGA, on his part, advised couples to have sizeable family as it helps for proper planning and economic growth.
“When I got married, my wife told me, she doesn’t want to have more than three children and that her mother had seven and training them was an issue. We agreed even though I wanted two children. We discussed it and after the third one, she went for family planning. I am at peace now. Family planning is helping me,” he added.
He advised women to dialogue with their husbands before using any family planning method, but if such a husband is not in support, the woman should go alone to save her life. He however said the local government has agreed to support family planning by increasing awareness in the community.
Mrs. Sidikat Iyabo Salami, Family Planning Manager, Badagry LGA, explained that majority of husbands were opposed to their wives use of family planning until she met with the CDAs, the Iyalojas and the Baale’s in the LGA.
Salami said that in one of the fora, she took the opportunity to talk about family planning because she learnt that most men don’t support their wives.
“After explaining the importance of family planning and why men should support their wives, the chief of the community promised that from that time, he would try and counsel the young men and their wives because they thought using modern contraception would prevent their wives from getting pregnant,” the Family Planning Manager added.
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