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Contraceptive use critical to reducing maternal mortality

Published by The Nation on Mon, 22 Feb 2021


By Moses Emorinken, AbujaRotary International has called for adoption and usage of family planning methods and contraception in order to reduce the unacceptable rate of maternal mortality in the country. It noted that Nigeria is ranked fourth in the world, with one of the highest maternal deaths. It therefore, stressed that family planning and use of contraceptives not only prevent pregnancy, but also reduce maternal deaths significantly.According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the maternal mortality rate (MMR) of Nigeria is 814 per 100,000 live births. This means that the lifetime risk of a Nigerian woman dying during pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum or post abortion is one in 22 in contrast to developed countries estimated estimate of 1 in 4,900.Speaking during a three-day media training organised by the Rotary Action Group for Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health (RMCH) in Abuja, the Director of Family Health at the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Salma Anas-kolo, said the country has often explored strategies to reverse its high low contraceptive use. It is noteworthy that Nigeria has over the past 20 years developed and implemented plans and strategies to address the countrys persistently low modern contraceptives prevalence, as well as the extremely high maternal mortality rate and morbidity. We have not made much progress.In 2012, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund, commissioned a study to evaluate available data on barriers to the utilisation of family planning, and proposed a high-impact intervention to strengthen the family planning programme in Nigeria.Following that, one of the major outcomes for recommendation of the study was a need for an aggressive family planning communication campaign which focuses on identifying barriers to uptake of family planning in Nigeria. The FMoH, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), and all ministries of health of the 36 states of the federation including the FCT, in collaboration with the UNFPA, and all our development partners and experts team of Nigeria social behaviour change, developed the national family planning communication plan, and also developed the new national planning logo which is called the green dots. This is aimed to effectively meet the identified gap in family planning communication.Nigeria is facing multiple challenges which impacts negatively on the gains earlier achievedthe COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other equally disconcerting issues like banditry, kidnapping and other security challenges. Others are increasing rate of unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions have contributed to unacceptable health indices in the country. It is important to create awareness on new contraceptive technologies.The National Coordinator, National Family Planning Campaign Rotary RMCH, Prof. Emmanuel Lufadeju, stressed that Nigerias very high maternal deaths is one of the worst statistics in the entire world, and therefore urged all relevant stakeholders to prioritise advocacy and investment in family planning and contraceptive. He urged couples and also sexually active individuals to reach out to health facilities in their localities to get the best advice on the right contraceptive that is safe and effective, noting that contraceptives in the country are either free of charge or at a very reduced cost.Also speaking, Prof Abubakar Panti, said: Currently, there is a pressing need for limiting the family size at personal level and for the control of population at a national level. The need of birth control at personal level has arisen through increased cost of living, scarcity of accommodation, a desire for better education of children in the current competitive world, and a desire for an improved standard of living.Rapid population growth is a critical issue in most developing countries. In developing countries, women continue to die because they lack access to contraception. Each pregnancy multiplies a womans chance of dying from complications of pregnancy or childbirth. Maternal mortality rates are particularly high for young and poor women, those who have less access to contraceptive services. It is estimated that one in three deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth could be avoided if all women had access to contraceptive services.
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