The Federal Government in collaboration with UNFPA and other development partners say they are working to boost nationwide access to reproductive health commodities and services to harness demographic dividends in the country.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja during the Annual Memorial Lecture in honour of Late Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, former Executive Director, UNFPA.
The lecture, organised by UNFPA and Youth Hub Africa, was titled “Implication of the Population of 190 million on economic development and health/wellbeing of future generations of Nigerians’’.The minister said universal access to Family Planning (FP) is a human right, central to gender equality and women’s empowerment, and a key factor in reducing poverty and achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Adewole added that universal access to FP commodities, essential medicines and services has been identified as a key intervention that would help in addressing inequities in the post 2015 development agenda.He said the ministry launched the document on Business Case for investment case of FP in Nigeria in 2017.
He explained that the document was designed to trigger a sustainability path for the FP programme through evidence-based interventions.He added that the document would also provide a framework for investment in FP to support Nigeria to reach the health and economic developmental goals.
According to him, the business case estimates the costs, impacts and financing scenarios to achieve the modern contraceptive prevalence goals and impact on development.The minister said government in collaboration with its partners and private sector pledged to achieve a modern contraceptive rate of 27 per cent among all categories of women by 2020.He renewed government’s commitment to increasing its annual allocation for contraceptives to $4 million from $3 million from 2018 to 2020, in compliance with the commitment of Nigeria at the 2017 FP Summit in London.
Earlier, the wife of late Osotimehin, Mrs Olufunke Osotimehin, appealed to the stakeholders to ensure that they look at the world through the lenses of her husband.She noted that many young people, women and children were marginalised due to their gender, culture, religion and poor attitude of some men to them.
She therefore appealed to government and other key stakeholders to ensure that more women are empowered, pregnant women deliver safely and girls were encouraged to go to school.Similarly, the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Edward Kallon, described Late Osotimehin as a global leader who fought for the right of young people and work to ensure that no woman die while giving life.
Kallon, represented by Dr Eugene Kongnyuy, Acting Country Representative of UNFPA, appealed to government and partners to make strategic investments that would support the young people to harness their potentials.The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Late Babatunde Osotimehin was a former Minister of Health and former Director-General of National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA).
Until his death on June 4, 2017, Osotimehin was the executive director of UNFPA.He was also known for his interest in youths and gender issues as well as advocacy in reproductive health and rights.