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Stakeholders Recommend Emergency Contraceptives For Rape Victims, Young Women



As part of efforts to curtail the surge of unplanned pregnancy especially among young women in the country, the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH), has called for the use of levonorgestrel as emergency contraceptive.

Director, Reproductive Health, ministry of Health, Dr. Kayode Afolabi, who made this known at the Dissemination Meeting on ‘levonorgestrel’ Emergency Contraceptive Pills (LNG-ECPs) Training Manuals in Abuja, described emergency contraceptive, as a broad range of method mix in family planning.

According to him, “the particular emergency contraceptive that we are working on in collaboration with ARFH is levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive pill. We consider it an important part in family planning programming in this country, we consider it a very good effective and efficient method of contraception especially for special group of women and ladies in their reproductive age group.

This special group of women, according to him, include rape victims, women in their reproductive age who may engage in unplanned sex or may be assaulted.

He said the partnership with the ARFH is to ensure that there is guideline and training manual that will be used to improve the capacity of healthcare providers, so that they will be able to provide information and services for emergency contraceptives adequately adding that the target is all inclusive; from those providing commodities to those in the facilities providing services for emergency contraceptives, to ensure a seamless introduction of it into public.

Afolabi however identified lack of awareness and knowledge as a barrier as many women who need the pill are not aware of it. “Anybody who is matured enough to get pregnant and who has been violated in one way or the other as a woman will need emergency contraceptive as part of the care,” he stated.

The director of Programs, ARFH, Mrs. Kehinde Osinowo, said the meeting was inspired by the need to ensure that Nigerian women do not continue to die as a result of unpredictable situations that confront them, such as rape, which is very high in the country presently.

“Rape is very high now and a lot of women are going through that major challenge. Another reason is that more than ever before, we have never witnessed an unpredictable environment like we have in country presently.  There are so many IDPs as a result of unpleasant situations and as a result of insurgencies in the country. This makes people to be at risk of being assaulted.

“All other contraceptives should work as protective contraceptives to prevent people from getting pregnant, if you don’t want to get pregnant, you are either using the pill, injectable, but some people will determine it in their minds not to use any method and by circumstantial situation, they become assaulted or they are victims of unplanned sex, so emergency contraceptive will help to give a protection and to a woman who has not been on any contractive and subjected to unprotected sex.”

Speaking further, Osiniwo observed that the usage is just barely about 2.8per cent, adding that there is association between knowledge and use, while explaining that the manual is aimed at building the capacity of health providers.

She emphasized the need for emergency contraceptives to be recognised as part of the method mix for the country, even in places where they do not go to facilities, stressing that once the knowledge is high and there is improvement in understanding and the benefit, the pill will be appreciated.