The honourable minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, has said that universal access to family planning is a human right and a key factor in reducing poverty and attaining the Sustainable Development Goals. He made this statement at the First Professor Babatunde Osotimehin Annual Lecture, which held recently at the Ladi Kwali Hall, Sheraton Hotels.
The lecture, which was organised by Youthhubafrica with support from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), with the theme, “The population of 190 million people in Nigeria – Health and Development”, was focused onimproving maternal health through contraceptive prevalence for a demographic dividend which leads to economic growth.
According to Prof Adewole, “Universal access to family planning is a human right, central to gender equality and women’s empowerment, and a key factor in reducing poverty and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The Federal Government of Nigeria, working with several development partners, has been working hard to ensure access to reproductive health commodities and services through public health facilities nationwide. Universal access to essential medicines and services has been identified as a key intervention that would help in addressing inequities in the post 2015 development agenda.”
Professor Babatunde, till his demise believed the youth are integral part of a nation’s economy and development. During his lifetime, he placed improving access to quality education, maternal child health, Family planning and Child spacing as top priority.
Speaking further, Adewole said that with the current Nigerian population of over 190 million people, efforts have to be made to create awareness of moderate family size nationwide, especially in rural areas.
“The implications of maternal mortality are spiral and huge on population structure and composition. In several instances, maternal death distorts the locus of household equilibrium, which may manifest in poor upbringing of young family members by the widower or caregiver, disaffection between stepmothers and children left behind, large family size as the subsequent wife engages in procreation even in the midst of poverty just to satisfy cultural expectations whereby women desire to have their own children notwithstanding household prevailing circumstances, just to mention a few. With over 190 million people, and counting, vigorous awareness creation about the essence of moderate family size, especially in rural areas has once again become particularly necessary.”
While speaking, the wife of Late Professor Babatunde Osotimehin, Mrs Olufunke Osotimehin, said that during his lifetime Professor Osotimehin worked hard to ensure that women were educated, empowered and adequately helped.
“My late husband worked hard to ensure that existing wives can be empowered by the law of the country and through skills acquisition; the pregnant woman could be helped by giving them all they need to deliver safely; the girl-child was assisted in going to school and not forced to get married at an early age because of money but instead providing the required facilities for them to excel in education.”
Along side the lecture, young minds who participated and exceled in the essay competition organised by Youthhubafrica, with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), were awarded cash prizes worth 1million Naira.
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