Have you heard of the Green Dot?
The Ministry of Health in Nigeria has launched a 4-year strategy for family and ultimately, national planning.
The event began on September 11 and runs till September 15, with many activities lined up.
One of those activities was the first day of the launch which brought together the who-is-who of the health sector as well as influential members of the society such as clergies and royal fathers. (You will read more from them in other posts coming up)
The event was anchored by veteran, Mrs Moji Makanjuola and the first speaker of the day was Nigeria’s Minister Of State For Health, Dr. Osagie E. Ehanire; a Medical Doctor and an outstanding surgeon.
He made insightful points on why affordable family planning and child spacing services in Nigeria must be encouraged.
Here are excerpts from his speech:
“I do believe that I feel the enthusiasm and desire of all of us to be part of this discourse. It is accepted that proper family planning and child spacing strategies play a critical role in improving the health and changing the lives of women, families, communities and nations by contributing to significant maternal and infant mortality and morbidity as well as other reproductive health issues like unsafe abortions and HIV transmission.
“Scientific evidence clearly demonstrates that family planning and child spacing reduce maternal mortality by 40% and infant mortality by 25%.
“Not only that, mother and children are both healthier and fathers far more stressed financially and the family unit is a lot happier and more successful in their activities with proper family planning.
“Family planning and child spacing as a strategy also helps to address the question of population growth rate which is important for family planning and which most advanced nations utilize in formulating policies for population growth that aligns with planning their national economic development agenda.
“In Nigeria, family planning like many other health indices unfortunately is not in a very good state.
“Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) for example, is just 15%. (This means that 15% of Nigerian women of reproductive age use birth control or family planning methods).
“Unmet needs are high at 16% while maternal and infant mortality rates are very high; this, despite a lot investment committed in the hope of replacing a negative trend with a positive one.
“Stakeholders need to find answers and solutions to the factors against successful implementation of family planning and child spacing schemes.
“In this connection, it will be decisive to place more emphasis than hitherto, on engaging and carrying along husbands and fathers as well as community leaders, who are the decision makers in the family unit and who also bear the burden of responsibility for family size, family welfare and family health.
“This is the reality of our environment and the essence of this family planning consultative stakeholders’ meeting.
“The presence of so many distinguished personalities in leadership position and from various walks of life, convinces me that the output from this forum will be rich and bring up many ideas on how to fast track the integration of family planning and child spacing programs into Nigeria’s health development plan and contribute to the target of 36% CPR by 2018 and saving the lives of 1 million women and children according to the FP 2020 initiative.
“This target is jointly pursued by federal and state governments in realization and acknowledgement of the link between Nigeria’s population profile and its national development goals.
“Viewed from this point, we can harness the potential advantage of the youth and reap democratic dividends from institutionalizing family and child spacing interventions for manageable population growth rate and reduction of maternal and mortality rates.
“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, believing this meeting will yield desired results, permit me to welcome and wish you all, fruitful deliberations.”