AKOR SYLVESTER, Abuja
The continuous rise in unplanned pregnancies worldwide has become a disturbing issue to many experts in not only in Nigeria, but other parts of the world.
Research puts it that not less than 80 million unplanned pregnancy, 20 million unsafe abortions and 30 million unplanned births are recorded every year in the world as over 200 million women lack access to effective and affordable family planning.
Speaking at the 3rd Nigerian Family Planning Conference with the theme, “Bridging the gap between knowledge and practice of family planning in Nigeria”, Dr. Ejike Orji, Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee declared that family planning plays an important role in reducing maternal mortality in the country.
He also stressed that the economic benefits of family planning are substantial, as it empowers women.
According to him, “over 200 million women in the world want to prevent pregnancy but lacks access to effective, affordable, modern means of contraception. This results in 80 million unplanned pregnancies, 30 million unplanned births and 20 million unsafe abortions every year.
“Family planning plays a key role in reducing maternal mortality. The economic benefits of family planning are also substantial. Family planning also has a role to play in climate change mitigation and adaptation.”
Oji disclosed the earlier call made to the government to “ensure that universal access to voluntary, high quality family planning and sexual and reproductive health services is included in the post-2015 development framework.
Adding more to this, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Country Director, Victoria Akyeampong noted that in every two minutes a woman dies of pregnancy related complications.
She further revealed that about four million women die yearly of pregnancy related complications and about 90% of death occurs in developing countries which include Nigeria, where about 110,000 women die.
The issue she said is not taken serious because those that die are usually the poor and so they are ignored.
Akyeampong therefore charged the gathering to ensure that all the policies and suggestions reached at the conference are translated into action.
Explaining that of the N63 million promised for the purpose of family planning by the government, only 68% have been released.
For high impact, she noted that funds must be made available for the procurement of the commodities.
The conference is planned to help highlight how family planning could help Nigeria attain the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).