The Sokoto State Government in collaboration with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has inaugurated an advocacy Technical Working Group (TWG), on coordinating Family Planing (FP) activities in the state.
The group was inaugurated by the Executive Secretary of Sokoto State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (SSPHCDA), Dr Ibrahim Malami on Wednesday in Sokoto.
Malami, who was represented by Mr Sale Abdu, the Director Community Health Service, underscored the importance of family planning among people.
He noted that FP promotes healthy population, proper demographic planing and other empowerments that would ensure citizens become productive.
He said that although the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) reported a decline in the national prevalence of the practice between 2013 and 2018, some women are still at risk.
According to him, the committee is expected to provide a clear plan to guide systems and practices, including request that attention be given to identified emerging areas.
Malami explained that “the purpose is to ensure that men and women in all their diversity are well informed and be fully involved in the processes.
“The committee is therefore expected to work with the stakeholders and serve as the central coordinating and advisory body to the Ministry of Health, Women and Children Affairs on issues of FP toward implementing activities.”
The UNFPA Programme Officer in Sokoto State, Mrs Gloria Eneuze, reiterated UNFPA’s commitment to support the FP activities and others towards promoting healthy livings.
Eneuze said the effort’s transformative results included ending maternal deaths, unmet need for family planning and Gender-Based Violence and harmful traditional practices, including FGM.
“The UNFPA is committed to support global and national programme to accelerate the FP practice a acceptance, abandonment of the harmful traditional practice and thereby advance the rights, health and well-being of women and girls.’’ Eneuze added.
A National FP Advocate and District Head of Gagi in Sokoto South Local Government Area, Alhaji Sani Umar-Jabbi, described the group’s formation as timely.
Umar-Jabbi, however, said the projected reach is being hindered by conflicts, climate change, rising poverty and inequality.
He said these continue to hinder efforts to transform gender and social norms that underpin the harmful practices and disrupt programmes to help protect women.
He added that “in Nigeria, the NDHS 2018 notes that high per cent of women have not been accessing FP instruments and lacked knowledge as well as family heads supports.
“Let’s work together within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“The policies and laws of the land aligning to strategic direction set out for all of us in the National Policy and Costed Plan of Action was developed and inaugurated with support from the joint programme.
“The formation of this committee marks a momentous occasion, signifying the government’s unwavering commitment to protecting the rights and dignity of our women.”
Mrs Mairo Rabiu-Sharif, the Reproductive Health Coordinator in Sokoto State Ministry of Health, urged stakeholders to contribute in advocating for budgetary provision on FP.
Rabiu-Sharif said that FP takes the largest share of poor practices as one of the health challenges in Nigeria.
She further called on all stakeholders to collaborate to bring an end to the harmful traditional practices.
“We all know the consequences of the absent of FP practice has caused to the female gender, effects from childhood to adulthood and how it also affect families and marriages,” she said.
The Sokoto State Chairman of Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SOGON), Prof. Abubakar Panti, who headed a sub-committee in the group said more commitment is desirable from government and institutions on FB awareness and acceptance.
Panti said FP TWC activities should be tailored towards reducing maternal deaths, traditional beliefs and practices as well as ensuring increased government budget, saying most fundings are from donor agencies.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the committee is headed by Mr Sale Abdu while membership consists officials of Family Health Department in Ministry of Health and government officials from different ministry and agencies.
Others are representatives of traditional institutions, NGOs and Community-Based Organisations, journalists and health educators. (NAN)