Family planning: Nigeria to record 700,000 unwanted pregnancies — UNFPA

THE United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has projected that Nigeria may record 700,000 unwanted pregnancies due to the increasing cost of funding family planning in the country.

UNFPA made this known on Tuesday, July 11, at the 2023 World Population Day organised by the National Population Commission (NPC) in Abuja.

Speaking on the theme: “Dialogue on financing and investment in family planning: meeting the growing demand of Nigerian women,” the Technical Specialist, Maternal & Reproductive Health, UNDP, Adeela Khan said the challenges in funding family planning may lead to increasing number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions in Nigeria.

Noting that the funding gap for family planning has increased and skyrocketed from $25 million in 2022 to $32 million in 2023, Khan said the situation could further lead to 300,000 unplanned births and 300,000 unsafe abortions.

Khan saud, “Family planning programme is largely dependent on funding, and that is dwindling funding. As far as 2022, there was a gap of $25m. This year, we are looking at a gap of $32m. What is very important about this gap is that if you are costing it, there will be 700,000 unintended pregnancies, which will result in approximately 300,000 unplanned births and 300,000 unsafe abortions.”

She further noted that the government made concerted efforts through policies such as the National Policy for Population and Sustainable Development in 2022 and Family Financial Commitment to ensure family planning.

“The Nigerian government has been recognising the importance of investing in family planning.”

Also speaking at the event, a Public Health Practitioner Gafar Alawode, expressed concerns over Nigeria’s rising population.

Alawode pointed out that the population was growing faster than the economy, a development which he said was detrimental to the country. According to him, Nigeria produces the combined population of Liberia and Togo annually.

“Nigeria is producing the size of Liberia, Togo, and maybe Sierra Leone combined every year. Why it is more dangerous is that our population grows faster than our economy. The implication is that the wealth is not expanding, but the people consuming the wealth are expanding. That means the share that comes to each individual is reduced. And Nigeria is already a poverty capital.”






     

     

    The ICIR had reported that  the former Country Director, IPAS, Ejike Oji, disclosed that only 6.5 million women in Nigeria use modern methods of contraception.

    Stressing that the use of modern contraceptives in the country prevents over two million unintended pregnancies, he noted that the contraceptive caused nearly a million unsafe abortions and 15,000 maternal deaths.

    Oji emphasised the need for the government to raise adequate funds for family planning services and maternal and child health programmes in the country, adding that investment in family planning saves lives and boosts nations’ economy.

    “Only 6.51 million women use a modern method of contraception in Nigeria. As a result of contraceptive use, 2.28 million unintended pregnancies will be prevented, 816,000 unsafe abortions will be averted, and 15,000 maternal deaths will be averted,” he said.

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