A new report on family planning shows that more women and girls in Nigeria have access to family planning than ever before.
According to the report, as a result of improvement in modern contraceptive use in the country, more than 1.9 million unintended pregnancies were prevented, 705,000 unsafe abortions and 13,000 maternal deaths were averted last year alone.
These figures are contained in the Family Planning 2020 partnership final report released on Tuesday, which found that over 5.7 million women and girls now use a modern method of contraception in Nigeria.
The survey was conducted in the world’s 69 lowest-income countries, of which Nigeria is one.
The report reveals that 320 million women and girls in these countries are now using modern contraception, with 60 million new users in the last eight years.
It notes that in Nigeria and Sierra Leone, injectables have risen to become the most common method in use, displacing less effective short-term methods.
FP2020, a global partnership which supports the reproductive rights of women and girls, details the progress achieved in family planning over the past eight years.
The report states that with almost 60 percent of Africa’s population under the age of 25 and also being the world’s youngest region, ensuring that young women and girls have access to a growing range of contraceptive methods has resulted in not only improvements in health-related outcomes such as reduced maternal mortality and infant mortality, but also improvements in schooling and economic outcomes.
According to the report, despite the threat of COVID-19, the family planning community has broken through barriers to transform the lives of women and girls in the world’s poorest countries through improved means and access to contraceptives.
The report attributed the progress to the pioneering work of FP2020 partners around the world, adding that improvement in modern contraceptive use in Africa has paved the way for more educated communities, healthier populations and the continent’s development.
Executive Director of FP2020, Beth Schlachter, said the FP2020 partnership had bent the curve of progress sharply upward and responded with strength to COVID-19.
“As a result of coordinated partnership over the past eight years, millions of women and girls can now plan their own futures through access to life-changing, and lifesaving, contraceptives.
“This momentum must be accelerated as the family planning community plans for the future.
“Since 2012, the family planning movement has gained huge momentum”, she said.
Schlachter, however, said there are still some challenges ahead.
The Executive Director noted, “Yet big challenges remain. With every day that passes, millions are denied the right to choose their own future.
“As we look ahead to 2030, we must continue to push for progress, build on what works well, and ensure we leave no woman or girl behind.”
Nigeria was part of the first group of countries to commit to the FP2020 partnership when it was launched in 2012. Since then, the country has made steady progress toward increased uptake of family planning.
Evidence shows that in Nigeria, a woman gives birth to an average of 5.5 children in her lifetime.
The Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey 2018 shows that unmet need for family planning
declined from 20 per cent in 2008 to 16 per cent in 2013 before increasing to 19 percent in
According to the survey, during the last five years, the use of modern methods has increased from 10 per cent to 12 per cent, and the total demand for contraception has increased from 31 per cent to 36 per cent while demand satisfied with modern methods has increased from 31 per cent to 34 per cent in the last five years.
Experts, however, say unmet need for modern contraceptive remains a critical reproductive health challenge in Nigeria.
The focal person for Civil Society Organisations on FP2020, Nigeria, Dr. Ejike Oji, said they have been working collaboratively with government in advocating for increase in counterpart support for family planning services in the country in the past years.
“We have succeeded in successful advocating for counterpart support of three million US dollars initially and later on increased it to four million counterpart support.
“Before now, all commodities that are imported into this country for use are actually brought in by development partners and donors”, he said.
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