By Longtong Ibrahim
Kaduna (Nigeria) – Child Birth Spacing (CBS)/family planning has been identified as major way through which women could avoid high risk pregnancies and care for their children; thereby reducing maternal mortality as well as enhance proper development of the child.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Family Planning (FP) is; “a way of thinking and living (a way of life) that is adopted voluntarily upon the basis of knowledge, attitudes and responsible decisions by individuals and couples in order to promote health and welfare of the family group and thus contribute effectively to the social development of the country.”
WHO also noted in a report that, globally over ¼ million (289,000) women die yearly during pregnancy or childbirth, of which approximately 99% (286,000) of these deaths occur in developing countries; while more than half (62%) of these (179,000) deaths occur in Sub-Saharan Africa; In Nigeria 40,000 women die yearly during pregnancy or childbirth and also has the highest maternal mortality ratio (545) when compared with other regions of the world.
It is in the light of this that Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI), in its effort aimed at curtailing mortality rate among women and children, as well as eliminate supply and demand barriers to contraceptive and making FP a social norm in Nigeria, embarked on a 72 hour make-over of FP unit of some health facilities in Kaduna state – providing them with essential commodities to improve access and encourage uptake of FP services by women.
One of such health facilities is the Zangon Kataf general hospital, in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State, north-west Nigeria.
During a facility tour by AFRICA PRIME NEWS to the hospital, our reporter discovered that NURHI has upgraded the family planning unit and supplied them with commodities and consumables to offer free services.
According to the Family planning service provider, Elizabeth Zakka, NURHI’s effort has encouraged great turnout of women at the facility which could also be attributed to the organisation’s effort through ward and community mobilisation to raise awareness on family planning/CBS.
She said NURHI has trained a FP provider and also provide items for free including autoclave, bed, cupboard, gas cylinder, sterilizer, weighing scales, plastic buckets, water drum, metal chairs, handbooks/guidelines and contraceptives.
Mrs. Zakka also noted that between December 1st and 15th, the hospital has rendered services to 31 clients who visited to access services, adding that the renovation of the family unit has made clients comfortable anytime they visit.
The FP provider however called on the Kaduna state government to support NURHI’s activities by making sure all commodities and consumables are provided adequately to encourage more inflow of women in adopting child birth spacing.
While commending NURHI for its effort in increasing contraceptive prevalence rate, Chairman of Zongon Kataf Local Government Area, Aliyu Anthony, reiterated his commitment in releasing the two million naira allocation for procurement of Family Planning consumables (materials used to apply contraceptives e.g. needle/syringe, cotton wool, spirit etc) in the Area, which has been a major challenge across all the 23 local government areas of the state.
On how much has been expended on FP in the locality, the Primary Health Care Director, Jummai Audu, noted that the local government has not recorded any expenditure, saying, they received direct supply of commodities (Contraceptive) from the state ministry of health and partners on quarterly basis.
According to NURHI, its effort at upgrading the health facilities is geared towards improving quality of service to ensure that every woman coming into a facility to access services reach a greater number of people, increasing Contraceptive Prevalence Rate of the state.
Family planning allows mothers the opportunity to rest between pregnancies in order to regain their health and strength. The practice removes fear of unintended pregnancy; Reduces maternal ill health and death. Also, it discourages social delinquencies and Promotes community unity, among others.
Available methods of modern family planning include injectables, condoms, pills, implants, and Intrauterine Device.