The wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, has called on women to embrace family planning, saying that the socio-economic benefits lead to female empowerment and economic enhancement, just as other health experts called for increased sensitisation for the benefit of women, families and the society at large.
Speaking at an event to commemorate the Y2021 World Contraception Day, Dr. Sanwo-Olu said that there was no better time than now to put family planning on the front burner to ensure that a woman has adequate time to achieve her career goals.
She stated that her attendance at the event was in solidarity with women, who contribute daily to the economic growth of Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole.
According to her, family planning is an informed decision by an individual or a couple on how many children to have and when to have them, stressing that the practice involves the use of modern contraceptive methods to adequately space pregnancies.
Harping on the significance of family, Dr. Sanwo-Olu pointed out that when women space their births effectively, they can recover from the previous birth, take care of themselves as well as their babies while also bonding with their other children and spouses.
She explained that the growing population in the State and nation has its attendant challenges such as increased rate of unemployment, high rate of poverty, growth of slums, poor access to sanitation, poor health, lack of or poor education and increased crime rates.
Dr. Sanwo-Olu noted that many women in Lagos State who want to delay or avoid pregnancy do not currently use any form of modern contraception, adding that the government’s goal is to educate them and their spouses about the benefits of family planning.
On his part, the State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said the event with the theme, “A New Lagos, Family Planning, a Catalytic Pillar for Female Empowerment and Socio-Economic Development”, seeks to put family planning in the consciousness of citizens and front burner of public discourse.
Abayomi said that in 2018 research estimated that the State has averted about 167,000 unintended pregnancies, 59,000 abortions and 1,100 maternal deaths, noting that donors and partners have played a significant role in funding, procurement and distribution of family planning commodities in Nigeria,
Earlier in her remarks, the Director of Post Pregnancy Planning Project, funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and implemented by John Hopkins Centre for Communication Programmes, Dr. Taiwo Johnson, noted that all implementing partners under BMGF are working to expand access to family planning information and services as one of the key pillars for human capital development, particularly female empowerment.
Dr. Johnson added that Lagos State is making strides in achieving the 74 per cent target of contraception rate assigned by the Federal Ministry of Health towards achieving the national contraceptive goals.
She, however, noted that while a lot has been done in achieving contraception rate, there is still to check the ever-growing population of Lagos State as a result of migration from different parts of the country.
The medical practitioner also expressed the need to address the reduction in donor funding, COVID-19 disruption, reduction in national funding for family planning and high preponderance of private sector providers not exposed to quality family planning information and services.