dRPC, health experts, others discuss family planning in Nigeria (LIVE UPDATES)

As part efforts to contribute to the debate on Nigeria’s impending population explosion, the Research and Project Centre (dRPC) will join other health experts, government officials, civil society organisations and international partners at the ongoing 2018 National Family Planning Conference to call on the government to pay attention to the health sector through more investment in Family Planning (FP) services.

In line with this objective, dRPC PAS is organising a side event at the conference to advocate for more investment and inclusion in family planning strategies in the country.

The national family planning conference is a biannual event where family planning experts, government officials, international donors converge to discuss services in the country.

This year, in accordance with the theme of the conference, “Investment, Innovation and Inclusiveness”, the dRPC event advocates for innovation, inclusiveness and investment in family planning.

Expected at the meeting are health experts, academics, some state health commissioners, media analysts, government officials working in FP and reproductive health and CSOs working in the FP section.

At the forefront of the meeting is the deliberation on more investment and inclusion of FP and reproductive health in Nigeria.

The meeting also intends to update the states on the new family planning policies and what has been working in some states, deliberate on the role of media in FP and maternal health space in Nigeria among others.

In spite of efforts to make FP services cheap and available in the country, the rate of acceptance is still very low as many sexually active women are reluctant to embrace contraceptives.

PREMIUM TIMES will bring you live updates of the event. You can also follow the discussion through the twitter handle #pasfpsideevent

The event is expected to start at 9:30 a.m.


9:40 am – It is a sunny Wednesday morning here at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, the temperature is 23 degree Celsius

We are live at the venue of the fifth Family Planning Conference where we will be bringing you the live update of one of the session handled by development Research and Project center (dRPC PAS)

The session is on advocates for Innovation, Inclusiveness and Investment in family planning

This session was expected to start by 9:30 am, unfortunately it will be starting late

9:45 am- people are just coming into the hall.


In the hall now is Moji Makanjuola, who will be chairing one of the sessions. The session is on sub-national Innovations for expanded FP service delivery.


9:56: On the podium now is the moderator who has called panellists on the stage for the first session.

The panel of the first session includes the representative of the Commissioner of Health Anambra State, Onyejumbe Uchechuckwu; the Commissioner of Health in Borno State, Salisu Kwayabura; and Ebenezer Apake, director public health representing commissioner of health in Taraba State

The moderator for the first session, Mrs Makanjuola, is on the stage.

She is moderating on what is working in family planning in some states in Nigeria.

She asks what are the challenges, the successes and what needs to be done to join the world in the forefront. There is a need to remove the barrier to child spacing and improve the imperative of FP in Nigeria. She said this is very important because this is is what will project the nation forward.


10:05 am – The panel moderator, Mrs Makanjuola asks the commissioner of health in Taraba State on family planning programme in the state.

The representative of the commissioner said the state has been having problems with commodity shortage and workmanship

He said this limits the progress of the state in FP programmes.

Mr Apake said the state government has been training health workers on the delivery of FP to people.

He also said the terrain of the area has also been a hindrance to FP.

In Borno State, however, the commissioner said FP materials have been available but getting people to use them was the main challenge.

But now we are getting some shortage of supplies, that means people are starting to take it, he said.

He said there is also documentation of impact.

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10;20 am Mr Kwayabura said FP implementation in Borno State has been supported by international donors who are working in the insurgency-affected region of the country.

He said before the insurgency, there has been little or no programme and usage of FP in the state. However, with the insurgency, there has been a change in the access and usage as many international donors work in the IDP camps and many of them are also advocating for FP.

10 25 a.m. The commissioner for health in Anambra State said there has been little or no challenges in the state as to accessing and budgeting for FP.

He said the state has a separate budget line for FP and it is not lumped up in the state health budget like other states. He also added that the state has budgeted to procure vehicles for the distribution of consumables.

Speaking on the challenges, he said the state had a challenge with clearing some of the consumables from NAFDAC as it seized it despite a letter from the ministry of health which asked for the release of the consumables.

He said the consumables were released only some few months to the expiry date.

Mr Uchechukwu also added that the state has constituted a technical working committee for FP to make sure FP takes centre stages in public health in the state.

Speaking on religious activities and the effect they have on the people, he said the government has been talking to religious leaders especially the Catholics who do not believe in the modern form of contraceptives. He said this has led to tremendous improvement.

Mrs Makanjuola appraised the effort of the Anambra State Government and said more needs to be done about NAFDAC and its activities especially when it comes to consumable for the people by the government.

She said it is unacceptable that the agency seizes drugs and only released when it is about to expire


The representative of the Niger State health ommissioner came in during the presentation of the Anambra state

The representative, Yahaya Na’Uzo, the executive secretary PHCDA Niger State, joins the panel.

Mrs Makanjuola asked Mr Na’Uzo to tell the house what has been working in Niger State.

Mr Na’Uzo said the need for FP in Niger State is very high. He said Niger State has a high fertility rate and they are producing children as much as they can but they are working on it.

He said there is no clear-cut difference between the indices in the rural and urban centre. He said some of the people in the rural areas also seem to respond more to the idea of imbibing FP than those in the urban centres.

Mr Na’uzo also said the state has an accountability problem both internally and externally. There is no way or mechanism to show if they are doing the right things or what was promised.

“Though we have NGOs working in the state, their actions have not transcended to clear-cut achievement. There is also poor workmanship as most of the health workers are not available to provide the services needed.”

He said they are trying to improve these using data-driven report. He said there are some NGOs that they cannot translate their works to success. He said they are trying to improve on this.

FP is very dear to the state and we are trying to control the explosion of the population from the state, he said.

We are taking our advocacy to the communities and we are trying to make the people own the programme. We are also trying to introduce incentives to make people interested, he said.


10:40 am – The panellists are being asked questions on their presentations.

Some of the questions raised are on data and how they are handled?

They also asked on tax shifting and tax sharing in Borno State and how is it assisting with FP implementation in the state.

For Niger State, one of the participants asked for the government of Niger to enforce FP as one of the services of the PHCs in the state.

Mr Na’Uzo said there are incentives for good attitudes, especially for the health workers and NGOs; for both the providers and receivers. He said the incentives will not only be money but also ceremonies. He said the incentives are for behavioural change. He said they will also enforce punishment for those who default.

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He said data are also available but they just want people to know the real situation of things in the country.


For Borno state, the commissioner said they need a lot of capacity building for traditional birth attendants and health workers to be able to translate the right information to the people. He said this is very important because the health workers need to know what services to render.

Mr Kwayabura said FP concentration in the IDP is very important irrespective of the fact that most of them may have lost their families or children. He said as compared to the news that there is a proliferation of child birth in the camps, there is no significant difference with what is available in the towns. He said by July the insurgency will clock ten years meaning that there is a need for a long-term measures to sustaining FP in the state.


For Borno State, the commissioner said they would need a lot of capacity building for traditional birth attendance and health workers to be able to translate the right information to the people.

He said this is very important because the health workers need to know what services to render.

Mr Kwayabura said family planning concentration in IDPs is very important, irrespective of the fact that most of them may have lost their families or children.

He said compared to the news that there is a proliferation of child birth in the camps, there is no significant difference with what is available in the towns. He said by July the insurgency will be ten years, meaning that there is a need for a long term measure to sustaining family planning in the state.


All the commissioners said they have statistics on FP programmes in their states.

The Anambra official said FP is beyond the state ministry of health as it is done in collaboration with health workers, NGOs and the government. He said this is important because of the plans to incorporate FP services into private and religious-based health care service providers. He said the state is planning to establish three sexual assault development centres in the senatorial parts of the state because of the high rate of rape and cultism. This, he said, would cater for the vulnerable.


All the commissioners said they have statistics on FP programmes in their states.

The Anambra official said FP is beyond the state ministry of health as it is done in collaboration with health workers, NGOs and the government. He said this is important because of the plans to incorporate FP services into private and religious-based health care service providers. He said the state is planning to establish three sexual assault development centres in the senatorial parts of the state because of the high rate of rape and cultism. This, he said, would cater for the vulnerable.


11:14 am –

The panellists left for their seats and the next panellists are being called.

The new session is on the role of the media in FP/maternal health space in Nigeria.

On the panel are Azeezat Olaoluwa (health desk TVC), Ada Ezeokoli (Managing Director, Health watch) Rabi Abdallah (manager health, Nigeria Television Authority and Sam Eferaro (health online).


On Anambra State, the commissioner said family planning is beyond the state ministry of health as it is done in collaboration with health workers, NGOs and the government.

He said this is important because of the plans to incorporate family planning services into private and health based health care service providers. H

The commissioner, speaking on the vulnerable, said the state is planning to establish three sexual assault development centre, in the senatorial parts of the state because of the high rate of rape and cultism.

This, he said, would cater for the vulnerable.


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