Religious leaders don’t act what they preach on family planning – Expert

Religious leaders don’t act what they preach on family planning – Expert

Thursday, April 4, 2019 11:38 am

Adejoke Adeleye, Abeokuta

A Family planning expert,  Mr Olukayode Runsewe has lamented that religious leaders in Nigeria always failed to practice what they preach when it comes to the issue of family planning.

Mr Runsewe who said this while speaking at a health conference of Ogun State Social Behavioural Change Communication (OGSBCC) organised by The Challenge Initiative in Abeokuta, however noted that family planning is one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent maternal, infant and child morbidity and mortality.

According to him, the more people take family planning, the lesser the maternal death.

He noted that it has been estimated that meeting women’s need for modern contraceptives would prevent about one-third of all maternal deaths, through saving 140,000 to 150,000 lives per year (Global Family Planning Summit, 2012).

He also pointed out that the London Summit on Family Planning of July 2012 offered an opportunity to generate global commitments to increase demand and support for family planning by making high quality family planning services more available, acceptable prices.

Runsewe  noted that 83.8% of women of reproductive age  in Nigeria are aware of Family planning, but only 15% embrace and encourage the use of any form of family planning.

He noted that there is a significant gap between knowledge and Use of modern contraceptives in Nigeria.

He cited the NDHS 2013 which indicated that while 83.8% of Nigerian females are knowledgeable about modern Family Planning, only 15% of women of reproductive age are currently using any form of Family Planning method (10% for modern and 5% for traditional Family Planning methods).

Available statistics indicate that there is a significant and persistent unmet need for Family Planning in Nigeria.

“Unmet need” represents the proportion of women who have expressed a desire to either space or limit their childbearing, but are not using a Family Planning method.

“Men and women in Ogun have heard religious leaders speak in favour of family planning ,ideation is the concept that people’s action are influenced strongly by their believes, ideas, and feelings (“ideational factors”) and that changing them can change behaviours, including contraceptive behaviour.

He added that there are lots of barriers to utilization of family planning in Nigeria.

According to him, the factors include fertility related barriers, method related side effects, myths and misconceptions, opposition to women using family planning due to socio-cultural, religion and spousal objection and health system barrier such as supply, unskilled and unfriendly healthcare providers.

He noted that to Increase CPR and Improve Family Planning Situation in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health has taken some strategic actions and steps.



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