NPC canvasses adequate budgeting for family planning commodities 

Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC) Hon. Nasir Isa-Kwarra, has called for the  adequate financing, distribution and availability of free family planning services – commodities and consumables in a sustainable manner for all women in the country. 

He added that the non-existence or inadequate annual budgetary provisions specific for family planning, is jeopardizing efforts to manage the nation’s population. 

Isa-Kwarra made the call Tuesday in Abuja, at commemoration of the third Anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), Nairobi Summit, with the theme: “Sexual and Reproductive Justice as the Vehicle to Deliver the Nairobi Summit Commitments”.

Recalled that the world gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, to chart a new course far from population numbers, to bring women and girls at the centre of the conversation for protection and safety.

According to Isa-Kwarra, Nigeria ranks among countries with high (19%) unmet need for family among currently married women and 48 percent among sexually active unmarried women, adding that it is injustice when women lack access to information and services that allow choices regarding their reproductive life.

“Sexual and Reproductive Justice as the Vehicle to Deliver the Nairobi Summit Commitments can be possible, only when women and adolescents’ girls have the power and resources to make healthy decisions about their lives in regard to reproduction.

“When women lack access to information and services that allow choices regarding their reproductive life, then there is injustice.

“Nigeria ranks among countries with high percentage (19) of unmet need for family planning among currently married women, and 48 per cent among sexually active unmarried women,” he said.

“Modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate is among the lowest, 12 per cent in the world; high unacceptable preventable maternal deaths (512 per 100,000 live births).

“19 per cent of our teenage girls (age 15-19 years), have begun childbearing and unabated occurrences of early/child/forced marriage,” he added.

The Executive chairman, while affirming the commission’s action-plan to family planning, said that quality family planning was the right of every woman.

“The National Population Commission will continue to advocate to the National Council on Population Management (NCPM), Parliamentarians, Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), working with the Population Advisory Group (PAG).

“Also the Population Technical Working Group (PTWG), stakeholders who join consensus with government of Nigeria at Nairobi, including the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs),” he added.

Earlier, the Minister of Health, Ehanire, represented by the Head, Family Planning Department at the ministry Mr.  Lawrence Anyanwu,  reiterated the need for improved family planning and safety of women and girls to ensure the realisation of the Nairobi commitment.

In her remarks, the Country Representative, UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Ms Ulla Mueller, said that the right to bodily autonomy of women was critical in demonstrating the Nairobi commitment.

Mueller said that the Nairobi summit emphasised the imperatives of ending maternal deaths, Gender Based Violence and other violations against women, calling for national support for the conduct of a credible census to identify areas desirable of investments.

Mueller expressed the need for the right investment in women and girls as a roadmap to achieving Demographic Dividend (DD), stressing the need for equal treatment of all, especially women and girls, to enable them harness their full potentials.

Also in his remarks, the Chairman Technical Management Committee, Association for the Advancement of Family Planning (AAFP), Dr Ejike Oji, restated the importance of stepping up access to family planning in the country.

Oji said that family planning had the capacity to drive economic development with lower fertility rate, and improved Contraceptive Prevalence Rate.

He called on government to increase funding for family planning, which according to him is fundamental in catapulting Nigeria to higher levels.

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