Media and Communication Officer, Pathfinder International – Nigeria, Bayo Ewuola has said the challenge with procurement of family planning commodities and provision of reproductive health services in Nigeria is anchored on two major issues – policy and funding – and a third, which is myth.
Ewuola stated this in Lafia during a 3-Day Orientation Workshop with National Level Media Partners on AFP Media Advocacy.
He explained that due to low funding for family planning, it is often difficult to provide commodities in hospitals for Nigerians who may require FP services.
According to him, government at state level in Nigeria do have dedicated budget lines for procurement of FP commodities and provision of FP services for citizens.
“It still all boils down to policy and funding because if the state is not making budget plans for family planning, there will be no way to procure commodities and there will be no commodities to send to health facilities in the states, there will be stock out of commodities, people in both and urban settlements will not have access to these commodities.
“The first step that the government must take is to ensure that there is budget line for FP. So as a result, they will be able to procure family planning consumables likes spirit, cotton wool. Then when that is done and the budget is released, they will be able to procure it and people can have access. But in the first place, the challenge we have is that there is no funding, there is no budget for it.
“So at the subnational level, our effort is to ensure that government make budget provision for family planning.
Ewuola also spoke on the need for an enabling environment which involves human capacity development in the healthcare sector to ensure quality service delivery of FP services.
He pointed out that proper training of service providers will check any issues that may arise from providers’ bias.
Ewuola said provision and enforcement of policies will mandate providers to ensure that services are judiciously delivered because it is a requirement of the law.
“Whenever there is policy on ground, we know that these providers are also supported, they are backed by rules, policies that these services must be delivered.
“And that is why there must be an enabling environment for Family Planning Services to be rendered to those who need it most in Nigeria.
“So when you are also talking about uptake, people have to come forward voluntarily because family planning uptake has to be voluntary.
“There is the issues of socio-cultural norms. Some people do not have enough information about it, knowledge about family planning, and that is why we are building a network of family planning champions who will talk about it from the religious perspective; and also we have traditional rulers who also wield great power in their communities. So, we ensure that these people talk about family planning and they tell their constituents that taking up family planning services is not a bad idea.”
Meanwhile, a publication on Advocacy for Family Planning shows that donors have continued to support the Nigerian government in funding FP commodities and programmes. It said for example, the Government of Nigeria spends about US$10–14 million annually on FP commodities, and of that amount, the government provides US$3 million and donors provide the remainder.
Government has also established the Infant, Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health (IMNCH) Millennium Development Goal (MDG) budget line for contraceptive procurement, with a commitment of annual government counterpart funding of US$3 million in 2011 and for the next 3 years (2012– 2014). There was also a pledge of an additional US$8.34 million in funding for Family Planning/Reproductive Health commodities (FP2020).END
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