BY PATIENCE IVIE IHEJIRIKA, Abuja
As Nigeria joined the rest of the world to commemorate this year’s World Contraception Day, the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health @ Scale (PAS) project, have urged government at all levels to invest in family planning (FP).
This, the CSOs said will help the country to bridge the about 40 per cent gap in modern contraceptive prevalence rate.
The Nigerian government had committed to a 27 per cent modern contraceptive prevalence by 2020. But till date, the rate is only 16.6 per cent, with a gap of about 40 per cent.
In a statement read by the Project Director, Association for the Advancement of Family Planning (AAFP-PAS), Dr. Ejike Oji, the CSOs have identified inadequacy of FP financing as a key reason for the country’s failure to meet this national target.
According to the statement, “Year after year, the Federal and State governments allocate funds in annual budgets for contraceptive procurement; logistics; provider training; and for service provider task shifting and sharing. Year after year funds allocated are either not released, released late, or not in alignment with Costed Implementation Plans.
“In 2019 only 25 per cent of the committed family planning budget was allocated and released by the federal government. This January 2020 the federal government budgeted 1.2 billion naira for FP. The revised budget of August 2020 preserved this figure.
However, as of September 26th WCD, no funds have been released. This is the same situation in some states. In Kano State, N100,000,000 was allocated for FP in the January 2020 budget. This was reduced to N20,000,000 in the July 2020 revised budget. To date, not one kobo has been released.
“World Contraception Day is a milestone and an opportunity for the government at national and state levels to provide adequate funding for family planning. Funding is needed for commodities, logistics, awareness creation, and training of new providers under the Task Shifting Task Sharing (TSTS) policy. As we commend the government for its fight against Covid-19, we the CSOs of the PAS project also call on the government to release the 2020 budgetary allocation for family planning and to apply the same results-based management approaches used in the Covid-19 fight to family planning programming in Nigeria.
“As CSOs in the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health @ Scale (PAS) project we are committed to improving child and family health in Nigeria. We believe that access to modern contraceptives gives families a chance to practice healthy timing between births; reduces the risk to the mother; contributes to the survival of living children; and the health of the nation.”