Family planning is about women’s rights and their capacity to make decisions about their health and wellbeing. It is a significant investment to promote human capital development, combat poverty and harness a demographic dividend, thus contributing to equitable and sustainable economic development.
On its own, family planning is an integral part of the steps towards curbing maternal death. In addition to all this, family planning plays a pivotal role in population growth, human development and good health.
It has been proved over time that contraceptives utilized for birth spacing services help reduce maternal mortality, pre-term birth, and incidences of underweight that causes most of neonatal deaths.
No doubt, the advantages of robust family planning services cannot be overstretched. However, family planning is also essential towards poverty reduction. There is a direct relationship between family planning and poverty.
When couples have the number of children they can cater for, it makes life easier. A planned family in which the children are adequately spaced is likely to live with a higher standard.
By providing cheaper and more reliable contraception and more convenient services, family planning reduces ill-timed and unwanted childbearing. Family planning helps to directly increase household income and reducing poverty rates. Failure or inability to sustain family planning programmes locally and internationally, leads to increased population growth and poorer health of populations, especially among the poor.
The list of the advantages of family planning is long. It begins with maternal, infant and child health. Infant survival, nutrition, educational attainment and general wellbeing are all part of the gains.
There is enough evidence from the United Nations and other governmental and nongovernmental organizations to support this conclusion. However, the status of girls and women is perhaps one of the most important determinants of the effect of family planning on poverty.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) particularly notes that family planning is key to poverty reduction and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Family planning is a prerequisite for achievement and critical link to meet each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by UN member states for global development, and for realizing the human right of reproductive choice. In essence, giving people access to family planning is crucial to achieving the SDGs by 2030.
Targets in two of the SDGs – Goal 3 and Goal 5 – call for universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights, but unless there are sustained campaigns for wider access to family planning and improved reproductive healthcare, and more people are offered modern contraception, other interventions to reduce poverty and inequality may be far less effective.
One of the proposed benchmarks for the indicators in the SDGs is to meet at least 75 percent of demand for family planning by 2030.
In Nigeria and many other target countries, more women and girls have begun using modern contraceptives but the total number of those utilizing a modern method of contraception is still lower than anticipated and progress towards the target of giving an additional 120 million women access to contraception by 2020 is off track.
The need to revitalise and promote family planning in Nigeria is essential because the challenges facing Nigerian families in the future will be greater when it comes to population issues.
Poverty rates are particularly high among households headed by single women, and childbirth is often the event preceding these households’ poverty spells. Having legal access to birth control as early as possible significantly reduces probability that of women ending subsequently in poverty. Early legal access to oral contraception reduces female poverty measurably according to findings that take into consideration education, employment status, and household composition.