Chidimma Ukoha-Nwankwo, the Ebonyi State Coordinator of a USAID-funded organization Breakthrough Action-Nigeria, said that it is the right of every woman of reproductive health to choose how and the number of children to give birth to.
She spoke in Abakaliki Ebonyi State capital during the 2022 world World Contraception Day.
The event which started with road work sensitization with the theme “Breaking the myths in family planning (FP) was organized by the Ebonyi state ministry of health, office of the wife of Ebonyi State governor Rechal Umahi with support from BA-N and other developmental organizations.
Mrs. Nwankwo noted that the recent economic realities in Nigeria have made contraception and other forms of family planning essential for families.
BA-N which has about 17 areas it is working within Ebonyi rural communities said it has improved support of men in the use of contraceptives in the last few years of its Social behavior change activities in Ebonyi State.
According to her, Breakthrough Action -Nigeria has done a lot in support of compliance to proper contraceptive use by providing timely information to women on reproductive health as well as male engagements.
She said Men’s behavior towards contraception in Ebonyi State was very poor, often resulting in spousal conflicts but the story has changed.
“Breakthrough Action strongly believes that healthy families are created by choice, not by chance.
“Over the years, it has been in our project to promote safe contraception particularly, that women should have the choice when and how many children they want to have.
“Though we are not yet there, we have made some reasonable progress.
“We have men now understanding more, about the meaning of childbirth spacing, family planning, or contraceptives.
“We also have men who go to health facilities to make inquiries, and basically, we also have men who support their wives take up family planning methods in health facilities.
“The traditional leaders and some religious leaders have been key.
“Engaging with them has also helped us to reach more men and also educate them.”
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Daniel Umezurike, said that the economic growth in Nigeria falls below population growth, therefore the need to boost awareness on contraception and contraceptive use.
The Commissioner observed that child spacing helps women of reproductive age to regain strength and health after the vigorous ordeal of pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.
He further adds that uncontrolled births could lead to a population explosion with its attendant social syndromes.
“All these are what were considered by government, partners, and families in advocating for the people that are already married, that they should space their births.
“And for people that are not married, they should also plan it so that any time you have babies, it must be wanted.
“That is why in the world calendars, the 26 of every September has been set apart to commemorate and create awareness for contraception” Umezurike explained.
Umezurike further noted that apart from child spacing and prevention of unwanted pregnancies, the use of contraceptives is a preferable alternative to unsafe abortion.
He said Ebonyi State has low percentages of use of contraceptives.
The commission said World contraception day was first celebrated on September 26, 2007, by 10 International Family Planning Organizations. It is followed by World Safe Abortion Day celebrated every 28 days in September.
Vivian Ebeziakor of WHO noted that we can control the population and reduce maternal death if we embrace family planning.
Additionally that the high rate of infant and maternal mortality in the State could be drastically reduced with effective compliance with contraception.
Maria Orji the State coordinator family planning ministry of health urged the media to educate the masses that contraceptive is free and safe for a couple of reproductive healthy age.
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