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Why Govt Needs Another Look At Family Planning

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Thirty five years old
Jemina died recently while giving birth to her 8th child. Her husband, Sobomate, 42, a fisherman, could not bear the loss because, according to him, she was his favorite and the eldest amongst his three wives, all of whom were cohabiting with him in a fishing settlement.
As he lamented, in almost all his utterances, one sentence he kept repeating was “I told her not to get pregnant again, but she refused. She said she only feels my love when she is pregnant”.
He explained that he already has seven children with her, and that their first child, a girl, is 14, and that the 7th child by her just turned one.
Mr. Sobomate said he has eight other children with two other women (five by the second wife and three by the last wife). All of these children are less than 14 years.
From the explanations he gave, shortly after he impregnated his second wife, the late Jemina started complaining that the only time he treated her as a woman was when she was pregnant.
She therefore decided that she will continue to get pregnant as much as she can so he will not have the time “to look at other women”.
The result was that Jemina started getting pregnant almost yearly, even after she was warned after her 6th birth by an experienced Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA) that she was endangering her life.
According to him, all his pleas fell on deaf ears as she later had her 7th child and got pregnant for the 8th, which led to her death.
A critical analysis of the events leading to the death of Jemina revealed that one major cause of her death was that she patronized TBAs rather than health facilities, where she would have been counselled on the implications of not spacing her children, and the need to enroll in family planning programmes.
Family planning (FP) refers to the conscious efforts by a couple to limit or space the number of children they have through the use of contraceptive methods.
It is also described as a practice that helps couples to avoid unwanted pregnancies, bring out wanted births, and ultimately determine the number of children in the family.
The United Nations Conference on Human Rights at Teheran, Iran, in 1968 recognised it as a basic Human Right and as a concept beyond just birth control.
Family Planning has been added to the 5th Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as an indicateor for tracking progress in improving material health.
Modern contraceptive methods include male/female condoms, female/male Sterilization, the pill, the intra-uterine device (IUD), injectibles, implants, the diaphragm, foam/jelly, lactation amenorrhea (LAM) and emergency contraception.
The traditional methods include Rhythm (periodic abstinence) and withdrawal methods. Modern contraceptives with short-term and reversible features such as pill, injectible and male condoms are more commonly found in Africa and Europe than elsewhere in the world.
The long term methods such as IUD or sterilization, on the other hand, are more common in Asia and North America.
The most common contraceptives in Nigeria include injectibles, male condoms and the pill. Other modern methods used by some women include IUD, implants, diaphragm and emergency contraceptives.
Family planning can also reduce maternal mortality by 20 per cent or more, and infants are twice more likely to survive if the previous birth interval is at least two years.
Access to family planning services can bring about a drop in unintended pregnancies by 77 per cent. This can lead to a corresponding reduction in the number of women requiring medical care from complications of unsafe abortions.
This will result in important health benefits to individuals, families, and the nation at large. It will subsequently contribute towards the control of population growth and the achievement of the MDGs.
The implacable from the case of Jemina, is that when family planning services are provided and made easily accessible, it will reduce maternal mortality.
In the same vein, if Jemina had accessed family planning, she would have been counseled by health care providers on the dangers of getting pregnant almost yearly. Now, she is dead, her case may be just one of a considerable number of women, whose cases were not noticed.
To ensure quality family planning, palladium, a United States-based organization that works towards improving livelihood and economies of countries, especially developing countries recently inaugurated the advocacy working group on family planning in Port Harcourt to increase its contraceptive prevalence rate in the state.
According to the Adviser, Health System Strengthening, Health Plus Project, Palladium , Dr Emeka Nwanchukwu “one of the objectives of the inauguration is rally support for family planning issues among political leaders and various stakeholders to improve on budgetary allocation for family planning communities in the state”.
As part of efforts to ensure improved family planning services, according to the Rivers State programme officer, Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria (PPFN), Emmanuel Owor, “you must have very good work force”.
For this reason, he said, the PPFN in the state has made man-power development in family planning an annual priority.
According to him, in 2015 the PPFN trained 50 family planning services providers in the state. They include Doctors, midwives, and pharmacists. Due to the economic crunch, however, the organisation has been able to train only 25 personnel’s this year. These trainings, he noted, commenced in 1979, a year after establishment of the PPFN.
Towards enhancing effective family planning service delivery, Owor said a project called “Cluster Model”, by PPFN also ensure that private clinics are brought in as partners with relevant memoranda of understanding (MoU) signed.
Staff of such clinics are then trained to provide family planning services accordingly, under the close supervision of the PPFN.
From these private clinics, the PPFN gets monthly records of those accessing family planning services.
Investigations reveal that so far, the government is mainly involved in the provision of health facilities and man-power, and because most of these health facilities are situated in the urban areas ,family planning services are mostly concentrated in the urban areas.
The rural, especially hard-to-reach areas are virtually cut-off from accessing the family planning services. This explains why most key cases such as that of Jemina occur in the rural areas.
Even when family planning services are available in the urban areas, there is as much ignorance and or negligence as there are people of productive age who find it extremely difficult to access good health, due mainly to economic down turn.
For the government to be able to reasonably check maternal mortality and neonatal death in this wise, it has to go beyond merely provision of health facilities and manpower development.
The government needs to come up with more equipped health facilities and free family planning commodities in all communities, as well as institute relevant legislation that would make it mandatory for every adult to access family planning services when the need arises.
This also means that it behoves of the government to provide a conducive environment, such as increased budgetary allocation to family planning, improved man-power development and ensure accessibility by the lowest class of the citizenry.

 

Sogbeba Dokubo

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Woman Sells Two Daughters For N300,000 In Ogun

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A 35-year-old housewife, Blessing Agoro, has been arrested by men of Ogun State Police Command for allegedly selling her two daughters, Semilore Agoro (four), and Deborah Agoro (two).
The suspect was arrested, following a report lodged at Redeemed Camp Divisional Police Headquarters by her husband, Oluwaseyi Agoro.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi disclosed this in a statement, yesterday.
Oyeyemi said the husband reported that when he returned from travelling last Tuesday he couldn’t find his two daughters.
The PPRO said, “The man stated further that all efforts to make his wife tell him the whereabouts of the children proved abortive, hence his report.
“Upon the report, the DPO Redeemed Camp division, CSP Alabi Akinjide, detailed his detectives to apprehend the suspect, who had already been with the camp’s code of conduct department.
“On interrogation, the suspect explained to the police that her husband left home for the past two years, and while he was away, she found it difficult to cater for the two children with her other two children she had for another man.
“She stated further that while she was contemplating on what to do, one Kolawole Imoleayo introduced her to a couple in Port Harcourt who was in need of children. She sold the two daughters to the couple at the rate of N300,000.
“Her confession led to the arrest of the said intermediary, Kolawole Imoleayo. They are both assisting the police in their investigation.”
The Commissioner of Police, Edward Ajogun, has ordered the transfer of the suspects to the Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Labour Unit of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCID) for discreet investigation.
Oyeyemi added that Ajogun directed that the children must be rescued and brought back to their parents as soon as possible.

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World Bank Trains 54,000 Women, Youths On Economy

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The Kebbi State Government has disclosed that over 54,000 women and youths have been trained by the World Bank to be economically active.
The government also revealed its readiness to reciprocate its achievement recorded in rice production in other products such as onions, sheer-butter and soya beans for exportation purposes.
The Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, who stated this while launching women and youth export development facility, in partnership with Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), said, the state has comparative advantage in agriculture over other states.
Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Umar Babale Yauri, Bagudu said, “As you know, Kebbi State is blessed with a population of women who are engaging in rice production and it is now a top talk across the nation due to efforts and support of state governor.
“The state government is trying to reciprocate the achievement recorded in the rice production into sheer butter, onions and soya beans.”
He added that with the partnership with NEXIM, Kebbi State would start the export of soya beans, shea butter and onions.
The Special Adviser to State Governor on Women Development, Hajia Zarau Wali, disclosed that through partnership with the World Bank, over 54,000 women have been trained to be economically active.
According to her, “It is also worthy of note, that the state government in partnership with the World Bank empowered 54,000 women to be economically active through the formation of Women Initiative Group in Maiyama, Ngaski and Argungu local government areas.”
She explained that more women and youths, especially in the rural areas, are actively involved in the production of rice, sheer butter, onions and water melon stressed that they are capable of feeding the nation and exporting the products if they were properly guided.
Wali urged NEXIM to include in their programmes mode of processing and packages of perishable products during their training session for women and youths.
Earlier, the Managing Director and Chief Executive, Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Mr Abba Bello, had commended the state government over it investment on rice production in the state which has increased the IGR of the state.
“Let me commend the investment drive in the state by your administration, particularly the Rice Revolution, which recently led to the unveiling of the rice pyramid as well as the cassava-based ethanol project with huge prospects for production of biofuel and renewable energy.
“Your efforts in this direction have not only contributed to the significant increase in the Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) but have also positively impacted the socio-economic indices particularly in the areas of jobs creation and sustainable development”.

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Eve Afrique Red Ball Takes Centre Stage In PH, Sunday

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This year’s Eve Afrique Red Ball event with theme: “Together, Ensuring Peace and Development Across the Niger Delta”, is set to take place on Sunday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.
In an interview, the Editor in Chief of Eve Afrique Magazine, Mrs Ivy Davis Etokakpan, said, this year’s Red Ball event is the 10th and will focus on the socio-economic wealth of the Niger Delta region.
She stated that, over the years, Eve Afrique had worked on eight health related issues, but this time, because of times and seasons, “we are focusing on peace and development across the Niger Delta.
According to her, “we hope to achieve this with the cooperation of leaders of corporate organisations in the Niger Delta. We believe that with the cause action on the Red Ball, we hope to do that with our Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Eve Afrique Empowerment Initiative”.
Etokakpan added that this year will focus basically on internship programme for young people by asking partners of the NGO to accept and train secondary school students during holidays in their companies.
She said, “in the past, we used to do vacation jobs in the oil companies, even in our parents’ companies. We hope that our partners would teach our children workable skills. If this is done, the Niger Delta child would know his or her skill and work on it.
“We want these young ones to learn management and accountancy skills through these internship programmes. Our dream is that, in five years’ time, we would have raised a group of’ equipped and empowered Niger Delta youths who in turn will mentor those coming after them. We need to prepare these ones for the future.
At the Red Ball event this weekend, we expect Elsphon Nigeria Alabo (Dr) Emi Membrane-Otaji, Managing Director, to present a keynote address on “Economic Development across the Niger Delta. Also, former MD of NDDC, Mr Timi Alaibe will present a paper on Peace Across the Niger Delta at the event”, she said.
It would be recalled that over the years, Eve Afrique Red Ball has achieved levels of successes over the previous Red Ball events in raising awareness on general health matters, empowerment programmes as a way of giving back to the state and society at large.
Eve Afrique had hosted programmes which include the sickle cell awareness programme, cervical cancer awareness and prevention programme, diabetic management awareness and prevention programme, prostate cancer awareness programme and colon cancer awareness programmes.
Eve Afrique had the mandate of changing the narrative concerning the Niger Delta.
They are on a mission to highlight and showcase the beauty of the Niger Delta and Nigeria as a whole, she added.

By: Ibinabo Ogolo

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