World Contraception Day: Nigeria records 46 million abortions annually, says NGO

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By: Joy Odor/Kaduna

As Nigeria joins other Nations to celebrate World Contraception Day (WCD) a Non-Governmental Organization, Development Communications (DEVCOMS) Network has informed that about 46 million abortions are performed in Nigeria every year.

This was contained in a press statement made available to newsmen in Kaduna, North-West, Nigeria on Tuesday by the Head of Programmes, Ikeoluwa Otudeko who said according to National Demographic Health Survey 2013, the prevalence rate for contraceptive use in Nigeria is only 15 percent, saying this is very low in spite of the high rate of sexual activity and widespread awareness of the various contraceptive methods among Nigerian men, women, adolescent and youths.

“It’s shocking that after many years of family planning promotion in Nigeria, the percentage of married women using modern contraception is only 9.8 percent (Nigeria Demographic & Health Survey 2013). That figure hardly changed from the 9.7 percent recorded five years previously”.

“That’s lower than all countries in West Africa except Gambia, Guinea and Mauritania, according to the 2016 World Population Data Sheet. The average for all of West Africa is 13%” said the survey.

The Head of Programmes was of the opinion that unplanned pregnancies can have huge impact on the individuals, as well as, their partners’ lives, hence the need to use contraceptive as protection.

“Sex can be fun, pleasurable, and fulfilling part of life, but without protection, it can lead to Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) and unplanned pregnancies,” the statement said.

The statement added that contraception prevents unsafe abortion, which has become a persistent, preventable pandemic and remains one of the most neglected sexual and reproductive health problems in the world today.

The Head of Programmes called for increase in sexual and reproductive health education, information on the various methods of contraception, interpersonal/peer-to-peer communication and improvements in healthcare services delivery.

Also, to prevent abortion and other maternal health complications, Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) Senior Technical Advisor on Advocacy, Mrs. Charity Ibeawuchi, urged increased uptake of modern family planning methods.

Ibeawuchi said: “Family planning plays a major role in improving maternal, new-born and child health. Family planning helps to avoid the proven challenges women face in pregnancy/ child birth when they are too young and too old in age and/or when pregnancies are too close and too many.

“Successful family planning programmes improve quality of life whilst significantly contributing to demographic dividends and national development. Presently, of utmost importance is the need for adequate information to correct some of the myths and misconceptions and break barriers surrounding contraceptive use in Nigeria, most especially with the high rate of teenage pregnancies.”

Speaking on 2017 WCD theme: It’s your life, it’s your future, know your body,” the Executive Secretary, Youth Empowerment Foundation, Mrs. Iwalola Akin-Jimoh, charged teenagers, women and youths to take responsibility for their sexual and reproductive health.

However, already, the Federal government has committed to achieving the Family Planning 2020 target of 36 per cent CPR by year 2018, up from the 2016 figure of 16 per cent.

“The World Contraception Day (WCD) takes place on September 26th every year. The annual worldwide campaign centers around a vision where every pregnancy is wanted. Launched in 2007, WCD’s mission is to improve awareness of contraception and to enable young people to make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health.

“World Contraception Day is supported by a coalition of 16 international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), governmental organizations and scientific and medical societies with an interest in sexual and reproductive health.

 

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