Although Family Planning (FP) commodities are free in Lagos state, stakeholders in the health sector have said lack of consumables and poor state of FP clinics at the Primary Health Cares (PHCs) have led to the increase in maternal death in the state.
Lagos team leader, the Nigeria Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI-2), Dr. Omosanjuwa Edun, told LEADERSHIP that research has shown that FP saves lives and reduces maternal deaths by up to 40 percent, adding that if 10 women were to die as a result of pregnancy, FP can save three to four of those women.
Dr. Edun said a visit to some of the Lagos PHCs revealed that many of the facilities lack consumables for modern contraceptive procedure, some have no dedicated FP room to ensure privacy for users, they operate with old or incomplete equipment and others can’t offer implant due to lack of trained personnel or equipment.
He said at Itire-Ijesha PHC, located at Mushin Lagos, the facilities has its wall peeled and weatherd, roof is torn, the windows have incomplete glass louvers and perforated- dusty window nets.
The facility, according to Dr. Edun, has only one room for FP procedure and none for counselling, the instrument was rusty and incomplete, they have no sterilizer as they sterilize by boiling, the consumables are not always available and the light is epileptic with no stand by generator.
He said, “It is based on this, and in order to make FP more appealing to women, to stop the high rate of maternal mortality in Lagos, that NURHI began a 72-hour refurbishing of 50 PHCs, to give the facilities a new look.”
Dr. Edun further explained that the Local Governments and the PHCs selected for the make-over were based on the population of women of reproductive age.
He said, “Our selection was based on the Local Government Areas with the highest population of women of reproductive age. We believe that those are the people who should be our priority list and those are the people who will need our interventions faster.”
A FP expert, Mrs Charity Ibeawuchi, said FP is one of the most effective ways to prevent maternal, infant and child mortality as it helps to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, the number of abortions and the proportion of high risk births.
Ibeawuchi said when FP needs of women are met, Nigeria can prevent more than a third of her total maternal deaths per year, saving 140,000 to 150,000 lives per year, adding that the more couples practice FP, the fewer women die from pregnancy-related causes.