COVID-19: NGO calls for more funding, access to family planning

A non-governmental organisation (NGO) ,WISH, has called on governments of Kano and Jigawa states to allocate more funds to family planning in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

DAILY FOCUS reports that the call was made by the coordinator of the organisation, Micheal Olawuyi, in a press briefing organised on Thursday, at Chilla hotel conference hall in Kano.

He said the media briefing was aimed at highlighting the importance of continuity of essential family planning services and public sector financing in the two states where, he said cases of mortality rate are higher.

Family planning saves lives – Osinbajo

Mr Olawuyi noted that inadequate funding for family planning services is largely responsible for the high maternal and child mortality rate in Nigeria, which he said accounts for 20 percent of global maternal death rate.

“Jigawa has one of the worst mortality rate in Nigeria estimated at 1012/100,000 lives birth. Nigeria currently has an average total fertility rate of 5.3 per women, and states like Jigawa has a total fertility rate of 8.5, which indicates that women gave birth to an average of 8.5 children in the state”, he said.

According to him, WISH, as a program supported by the UKaid, is worried over the fact that family planning receives very little attention by the government of Nigeria at the national and state levels, despite its huge benefit to our society, adding that there is need for increased budget allocation to the health sector especially for family planning services.

COVID-19 disrupts family planning programs

Similarly, a medical doctor at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH), Dr Mukhtar A. Gadanya said the current Covid-19 epidemic has disrupted many programs that work to ensure family planning services reach women particularly in remote areas of Jigawa state.

He decried that funds and services are not adequately allocated for family planning activities to reach more people especially in Kano and Jigawa states.

“This is not the first time an epidemic is disrupting a program and the Covid-19 has affected every part of the world. So there should be increas in programs to develop family planning, unlimited physical activities and many more”, he said.

CSOs, journalists have roles to play 

Speaking at the conference, the Chairman, Kano State Council of the NUJ, Comrade Abbas Ibrahim said Civil Society Organisations and journalists can play an important role of ensuring sustainability of funds and also checking corruption in the service delivery.

He said Open Government Partnership, OGP, is another tool to be used in ensuring that family planning funds are applied properly, adding that journalist as watch dogs and fourth estate of the realm have a responsibility to report activities in order to achieve transparency.

Also speaking, Musa Abdullahi Sufi, State Program Coordinator at The Challenge Initiative (TCI) Kano, said the Covid-19 pandemic has put more fears and barriers to family planning, adding that access to overall healthcare services has become difficult because of the pandemic.

Mr Sufi called on Jigawa state and other parts of northern Nigeria to pay more attention to family planning amidst Covid-19 to allow for development in the state and the country at large.

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