By The Society For Media Advocacy On Health, Nigeria.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends family planning as a critical tool in population control, poverty reduction, improved health and human development
Studies have revealed a high fertility rate amid the absence or weak family planning programmes, especially among the poor results to exponential population growth and poorer health outcomes worldwide.
Indeed, robust family planning programmes are believed to provide a range of benefits, which are improved maternal and infant health, nutrition, as well as help individuals, obtain better educational attainment.
Family planning is an important requirement for attaining the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Target 3.7 which calls on countries to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes by 2030.
To prevent overpopulation which puts women and children at the risk of poverty, contraceptives have been used as an effective tool in this regard.
The need to key into family planning services as a strategy in population control becomes imperative in view of Nigeria’s worsening poverty indices.
Recently, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in a report on poverty and inequality, reported that 40 percent of people in Nigeria lived below its poverty line of N137,430 or ($381.75) a year. The report noted that the figure represents 82.9 million people of the estimated country’s population put at 206 million.
The report also revealed that rapid population growth in the country outstrips economic growth, which stands at about two percent.
The United Nations (UN) estimates that Nigeria’s population would be 400 million by 2050. There is no doubt that if this projection comes to pass, it could worsen the economic woes of a majority of the populace that are caught in the poverty circle.
To prevent this, experts believe that family planning services could be effectively used to prevent exponential growth of the population, but simultaneously reducing poverty for individuals, couples and families that key into the initiative.
At the macro level, a study of selected developing countries show that the growth rate of per capita GDP is dependent on population growth and age dependency ratio.
According to a new Guttmacher Institute study, women’s ability to use contraceptives, and to determine whether and when to have children enhance their education and employment chances. This, in turn, improves their income, family stability, mental health, and happiness, as well as the well-being of their children.
Unarguably, Nigeria’s population has continued to grow astronomically and it is not at pace with economic growth. Such an imbalance between population size and economic development would inevitably have a negative impact on the well-being of the nation. Interestingly, family planning is one of the strategies which are proving to be effective in tackling these problems. This is the reason many countries of the world often adopt the initiative in population control in order to avert poverty.