News The African Way

Nigeria’s Poor Funding Of Family Planning Worry Health Officials

By Iliya Kure
imageKaduna (Nigeria) — Poor budgetary allocation and non release of funds meant to finance family planning services by most States in Nigeria is raising concern among local health workers in the country. This is associated with the high cases of maternal deaths, especially in northern part of the country.

According to Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) of 2013, the country records an average maternal deaths of 576 per 100,000 live births. By region, the north east records the highest mortality of over 1,500/100,00 while the northwest records 1,024/100,000.

Reproductive Health Officers drawn from selected Local Governments Areas of Kaduna State who were meeting in Kachia, opined that more effort was needed to curb the high maternal death incidences – including increase and releases of budgetary allocation by government to run family planning activities.

Their decision was in line with the fact that family planning/child birth spacing reduces a country’s burden of maternal deaths by more than 35%. This singular fact has triggered efforts by governments and organisations world over to advocate for modern family planning methods, and embark on supply of more contraceptives commodities and training of personnel.

In line with that, Nigeria has in 2014 adopted a family planning blueprint for scaling up the uptake of contraceptives. In the strategy, Kaduna State is expected to scale-up from its present uptake of 24.4% to 46.5% by 2018. One of the key expectation is that the State should invest appropriately in provision of services which will translate to saving the lives of additional 4,000 mothers and 27,000 children.

Addressing the Kachia meeting, Director of Primary Health Care in Kachia, Habila Barem who showed concern over the situation said until recently, “the programme [family planning] had been dormant, as only polio immunisation was taken seriously, because of the massive sensitisation of the public,” he said.

He said with the intervention of development partners like Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI), key stakeholders have been enlightened to engage government on the need to scale up budgetary provision for FP.

Monica Oga, the Ag Director of Health in Jema’a LG lamented that budget allocation for FP was inadequate, explaining that “the trend is so unfortunate that Officials have had to use their personal money to access these commodities from Kaduna,” she said.

Oga said the workshop, which was the first of its kind was an eye opener as it would enable participants to rely on operational plans to write proposals on FP in their respective localities.

Responding, Behaviour Change Communication Officer, NURHI, Khadijah Ibrahim Nuhu said the essence of the workshop was to scale up institutionalised budget task team that would develop action plans for adequate budgetary allocation for FP activities.

“We don’t have budget task teams to monitor government activities on FP. However, all hope is not lost as Kaduna State government under the leadership of Governor Nasir El-Rufai in collaboration with other stakeholders in the health sector are now taking the health of their people, especially women and children below five years very seriously,” she said.

Khadijah said findings showed that Kaduna State government expenditure in its budgetary allocation for 2015 would reduce Maternal Mortality (MM) by 40% and Child Mortality by 25%.

She called on Reproductive Health Officials to “start seeing themselves as key stakeholders to realising cross sectional solutions and achievement of State Developmental Goals.”

The two – day workshop for LGAs Budget Task Team (BTT) on Budget Tracking and Analysis for Family Planning (FP) programmes was organised by NURHI.

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