ODIRI UCHENUNU-IBEH and AYOMIDE AYANO, in this report, examine what Nigeria must do to curb her huge population.
Recently, the National Population Commission (NPC) said Nigeria’s population will hit an estimated 794 million people in 20100 going by current annual growth rate of 3.2 per cent.
As at April 11, 2018, the NPC put Nigeria’s current population at 198 million people, with urban population growing at an average annual growth rate of about 6.5 per cent.
Chairman of NPC, Mr Eze Duruiheoma had said that Nigeria remains the most populous in Africa, the seventh globally. According to him, the recent World Population Prospects predicts that by 2050, Nigeria will become the third most populated country in the world.
The question is, does Nigeria have enough resources to cater for her increasing population?
As the world celebrates Population day on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, one of the primary aims is to increase people’s awareness on various population issues such as the importance of family planning, including gender equality, poverty, maternal health and human rights.
Themed “Family Planning as a Human Right”, this year’s World population day focuses primarily on the importance of family planning in curbing population explosion, especially in Nigeria. According to the NPC boss, the explosion in Nigeria’s population has not been commensurate with resources and there was need for Nigerians to embrace family planning.
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.
Adewole said 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.
A family planning facilitator, provider and preceptor, Mrs Abiola Adekoya, in an interview with LEADERSHIP, said family planning, when adopted by Nigerians, would reduce maternal mortality, help in preventing unwanted pregnancies and as well, help in curbing Nigeria’s population explosion.
Adekoya who has administered family planning on lots of women, especially in her community at Agboyi Ketu said family planning has been impactful to a lot of women in her community. According to her, these women, in turn, inform others on the advantages they have been able to get through family planning.
“If everybody adopts it, if there is male involvement, sensitization programmes in churches, mosques, markets, our policy makers, it will go a long way in averting the huge population.
“The issue of abortion is reducing because people are aware of it, adolescents who cannot keep themselves are often advised to go for family planning instead of abortions.
“Parents should be able to counsel their children, they should be able to tell them the reasons why they should face their studies and keep themselves. But the adolescent that cannot do it, it is better we counsel them on family planning only if they tell their parents”, she said.
She however disclosed that one of the factors hampering the effective campaign for family planning is the unavailability of consumables.
“The only thing that makes family planning not being accessible to women these days is the issue of consumables. The commodities are there, the Federal government, Lagos state, developmental partners, have ensured that commodities are available, but the issue is consumables. We want government to create budget line for consumables in our local governments.
“We are going on advocacy visit to meet the chairmen in all the local governments so that they can create budget line for FP consumables. Last week, I was with the head of all the local governments, Honourable Mrs. S.N Omolola in Lagos Mainland, concerning the issue of consumables.
“I pleaded with her to help us relate with other chairmen during their meeting so that all the other chairmen can make family planning a case of urgency and ensured that they create budget line so that when our women get to the health facilities, all the consumables are ready and there will be no out-of-pocket cost problem”, Adekoya said.
While speaking on the likely side effects of some family planning methods, Adekoya said: “Before we give any method, we need to counsel them. We tell them the side effects, those things that they can experience, to allay their fears. So, when we want to give it to them, we will tell them what family planning is, the advantages, then some of the side effects thy may likely encounter.
“Implants, injectables, they are all hormonal. We tell them that they may experience spotting, bleeding, but it is just for a while. Some of them here will tell you what they have encountered. Some of them experienced bleeding, I tell them what to do. At times, we will give them drugs and within three months, they are okay, everything is going on well.
“And some will say, I did not see my monthly period, I will tell them, you may not see it but by the time you are ready to stop it, your menstruation will kick start. They don’t complain of headache because we do check their BP and their weights. Anyone that has high BP, I will tell them to go for IUD”.
Meanwhile, some women in Agboyi Ketu area of Lagos state also recounted their experiences about family planning.
42 year old Esther Mojeed said: “I have been using family planning since six years ago. Before I started using it, I gave birth to five children so I said I don’t need more children. I told my husband and he said he is okay with it. I was working with Mrs Adekoya at mainland local government then so she did it for me there. That one lasted for five years. After the five years, I went back to her and told her that the five years is over. She removed that one and gave me another one.
“Since the day I started using it, I don’t have any complain. Just the first time I did it, I started bleeding. I went back to her and told her this is the sign I am experiencing. She said it is normal and it is just for a while. After that, not up to a month, the bleeding stopped”.
Also, 31 year-old Morenikeji Sunday said: “I have two children. I am using family planning because I don’t want to get pregnant anyhow. Family planning is good. I did it for the first time when my second baby was nine months. My first child is six years and my second child is two years old. The gap between my first and second child was because my husband traveled but this time around, my husband is back. I am doing family planning to protect myself.
“At first, anytime I fall ill, I used to think it was the family planning. I was afraid then and my husband told me to remove it. I went to tell the provider and she told me I will be okay. Not long after, I became okay and I am enjoying it with my husband”.
According to another mother who have two children, family planning has helped her become more intimate with her husband without any fear of getting pregnant.
Mrs Adeyemi Titilope said, “I am an account officer in honeywell limited and I have been using family planning for the past six months. I did implant here. I have never tried it because I used to hear some stories, the disadvantages and everything.
“I went to a provider to enlighten me about family planning. She measured my weight and my blood pressure to know if I can take it or not. I told her I need five years because I am not ready for any pregnancy yet. The following month after I did it, I discovered dropping and I came to her. She told me not to worry because it is my first time. Now this is my sixth months and I’m enjoying it.
“Some of my colleagues in my office whom I told about family planning said they are enjoying their marital life,” she said.
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