A Reproductive Health expert, Dr Mercy Panyi, says low adoption of family planning contributes to the rapid population growth affecting the quality of life and making achievement of socio-economic development goals difficult in Nigeria.
Panyi, Head, Reproductive Health Division of Federal Ministry of Health, spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.
She said the use of contraceptives in Nigeria was low, even though Nigerian women knew about family planning methods.
Panyi said Nigeria’s population was equivalent to 2.55 per cent of the total world population of 7.6 billion, and ranks the country number seven in the list of countries and dependencies by population.
She said that the Nigerian environment, its natural resources, economy and facilities were fast being degraded and consumed as a result of human population increase.
According to her, some of the unavoidable results of continuous increase in human population include human congestion, high unemployment rate, environmental pollution and degradation, depletion of resources and weather modification.
”Also, unhygienic living conditions, elevated crime rate, conflicts, political instability, scarce resources, hunger and high rates of disease spread are other problems associated with over-population.
”In the past four decades, Nigeria has made very bold efforts to achieve rapid economic development, but rapid population growth has affected the quality of life and made achievement of socio-economic development goals difficult.
”Nigeria strives for a productive agricultural sector and wants to conserve natural resources for sustainable development.
“In the agricultural sector, as in other sectors, lower fertility yields benefits for Nigeria. At the current rate of population increase, will the country be able to feed the number of people it has?
”In the education sector, if Nigeria continues on its current path of high fertility, the number of students that will enter primary schools will increase — more than double by 2040.
“How shall the nation take care of these students? If the country takes the path of low fertility, the nation has fewer students, there will be less pressure to build new schools.
“Talking about health. In Nigeria, more than six in 10 births fall in at least one of the high risk categories. This means that more than half the children born have an elevated risk of dying before their 5th birthday.
”If we can adopt family planning, fertility rate will decline and this will help many families out of poverty. There will be fewer mouths to feed and free more money to educate or help each child, ” she said.
Panyi said that the concept of family planning allowed families to space births, control population and see to the improved health of the mother, child, father, family and the nation at large.
”With family planning, integrated population, health and environment projects can expand, thereby giving opportunities to expand access to clean and renewable energy.
“Family planning contributes to building safe, resilient infrastructure and sustainable cities, ” she said.