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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Breaking cultural beliefs in achieving Family Planning Agenda 2030

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Disproportionate perceptions, ideations, cultural beliefs and myths remain major barriers against Family Planning (FP) in most African countries, including Nigeria.

According to sociologists, the act or process of forming ideas or images in one’s mind otherwise known as ideations; and cultural beliefs are ingredients that fuel health inequalities.

Having more children than the family income can comfortably take care of has been blamed for the cycle of poverty in many African societies.

To embrace family planning as a way of achieving poverty eradicate and promote the health of women, reproductive health experts say the factors that mitigate against family planning must be dismantled.

While family planning remains one of the key pillars of safe motherhood, many unformed people perceive it as a decoy to depopulate Africa.

However, Prof. Oladapo Ladipo, President Emeritus, Association for Reproductive Family Health (ARFH) said that such ideations are neither here nor there.

Ladipo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that family planning is as old as the African pre-colonial era when the ancient Africans practiced child spacing as way of keeping a healthy family.

He said that ideations and myths surrounding family planning should be disregarded.

He described family planning as a critical pillar for any country’s roadmap to achieving demographic dividend.

According to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), demographic dividend is the economic growth potential that can result from shifts in a population’s age structure, mainly when the share of the working-age population (15 to 64) is larger than the non-working-age share of the population (14 and younger, and 65 and older).

Ladipo said only a reduction in Total Fertility Rate (TFR) can impact positively on the national economy through Human Capital Development.

Mrs Yesola Akinbi, Senior Special Assistant to the Vice-President on Capital Development affirmed the positive impact of family planning in engendering human capital development.

Akinbi was recently quoted by the media as saying that demographic dividend is achievable through three key areas namely; health, education and labour force

She expressed the commitment of government to scale up access to family planning to all families for sustainable human capital development.

A reproductive health expert, Dr Ejike Oji, said that family planning is the most effective way of reducing maternal mortality.

Oji, who is the Chairman Technical Management Committee, Association for the Advancement of Family Planning (AAFP), urged media to continuously amplify the economic and health benefits of family planning.

He explained that testimonies of family planning abound which normally are louder and more conspicuous than ideations.

He said: “Evidence from research studies show that successful family planning contributes to about 30 per cent reduction of maternal deaths.

“Evidence abound of how several countries in particular, Asian countries have successively advanced the practice of family planning to improve their families and economic realities.”

According to Dr Inuwa Jalingo, Census Manager, National Population Commission (NPC), population management is vital to harnessing demographic dividends.

Jalingo who emphasized the imperatives of reducing Nigeria’s TFR from 5.3 to internationally acceptable 2.3 per woman, warned that Nigeria’s population could be the highest in the world by the year 2050.

Jalingo, however, commended Nigerian government for showing commitment to the FP2030 plan and prioritizing Family Planning in the scheme of things.

He however frowned at Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) of 18 per cent and modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (mCPR) of 13 per cent for all women.

Jalingo said that Nigeria’s march to FP2030 Agenda entails adolescents, young people, populations affected by crisis and other vulnerable population making informed choices.

He explained that such choices should be devoid of biases and prejudices that underline ideations which militate against family planning.

Ms Margaret Edison, Director Department of population management, National Population Commission, said that populations irrespective of education, exposure, religion, or culture or age need to have access to quality family planning.

She called for mainstreaming of family planning into the nation’s budget line with a view to scaling up evidence-based, high impact family planning practices.

The FP2030 is designed to close gaps that still exist after the FP2020.

Nigeria at the 2012 London Global summit on Family Planning, committed to expanding access to and use of FP services to achieve a CPR of 36 per cent by 2018. 

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