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Family planning fund insufficient, NGOs tell Health Minister

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Babatunde Opalana 

A coalition of 56 Nigerian Non-Governmental Organizations advocating for better health for women and children in Nigeria and Africa, have called on the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole to ensure funds are secured, and released in time for Family Planning to improve the health of Nigerian women, as it noted that money appropriated for the purchase of family planning commodities in the country since 2012 have been grossly inadequate.

While submitting a letter personally to the Health Minister at the ongoing London Summit on Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), the NGOs observed that between 2012 and 2016, the Nigerian Government met just 11 % of its FP2020 pledged to provide US$3 million per year for the purchase of family planning commodities and an additional US$8.35 million for life-saving maternal, newborn, and child health commodities.

This current expenditure according to the CSOs is insufficient to support Nigeria’s achievement of the National Family Planning (FP) mCPR goal of 36% by 2018.

According to Ndidi Chukwu, Communications Officer of the Community Health and Research Initiative (CHR), the NGOs, however, commended the Honourable Minister of Health for allocating in the 2017 appropriated health budget of over N900 Million (about $3.17 million) for the procurement of FP Commodities.

CHR, he said, is committed to supporting the Health Ministry, the Ministry of Finance and that of  Budget and National Planning to ensure these funds are released on time this year for the procurement of FP commodities and funding of Nigeria’s Family Planning Blueprint.

To improve the funding for Family Planning and timely release of the funds, the 56 Nigerian NGOs proposed that the Ministry of Health should strengthen and/or develop innovative funding mechanism that brings the federal government financial support in one basket with the development partners leading to sustainable financing for procurement of family planning commodities.; to deepen its collaboration with Ministry of Women Affairs, Information, Youths and Sports and CSOs to make room for the voices of young people from a variety of backgrounds, especially the poorest and marginalized and design health and family planning solutions with young people rather than for young people.

Dr Aminu Magashi, Project Director, Community Health and Research Initiative (CHR) and Coordinator Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN) said in the letter, “We the CSOs working in the nation’s health sector have experienced a tremendous turn-around following the commitment of the Health Minister to transparent and accountable Ministry of Health”

Magashi further said in the letter that the commitment of the Health Minister “is as a result of your continued engagement with CSOs at various levels to ensure inclusiveness and participation as demonstrated by your meeting with Nigerian CSOs during the 2016 Ministerial Conference on Immunization in Addis Ababa, introduction of the quarterly interactive accountability forum tagged ‘#OpenFMoH’ and your partnership with CSOs to hold consultation on the Roadmap for Addis Declaration on Immunization before the World Health Assembly..

“With the nation’s population exceeding 182, 867,631 million, Nigeria continues to grow by an estimated 3.2 percent per year (National Population Commission, 2009). If this growth persists, the country’s population could double in just 22 years. Nigeria’s high fertility rate is a major contributor of the rising growth rate in the sense that a typical Nigerian woman gives birth to 5.5 children in her lifetime, despite the challenges of high maternal mortality of 576 deaths per 100,000 live births (NDHS, 2013), thus the need to invest more in Family Planning services.”

The 2017 London Summit on Family Planning holding on 10th and 11th July 2017 organised by the DFID, BMGF, UNFPA and FP2020 is been attended by African Ministers of Health and that Finance from the 42 out of the 69 world’s poorest countries. The five-year anniversary of the inaugural London Summit on Family Planning aims to boost progress on one of the best investments governments can make rights-based family planning programmes.

At the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, world leaders set a goal to empower 120 million additional women and girls in the 69 lowest-income countries to use modern contraception by 2020. At the 2017 Summit, partners from around the world will evaluate lessons learned, invest in proven solutions and take collective action to accelerate progress towards the FP2020 goal. These efforts will help further the goal of universal access to sexual and reproductive health, as set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Among the core indicators to be achieved by 2020 is the ‘annual expenditure on family planning from government’s domestic budget’. Achieving this indicator will have positive effects on the remaining core indicators such as the ‘Modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (mCPR) among all women which recent analysis recorded only 2 countries in Africa (Egypt and South Africa) reached above 50%. Majority of the African countries recorded below 20%mCPR with high unmet need for modern method of contraception.


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