ASABA/Nigeria: As part of measures to have a controlled population for effective planning and healthy society, the State government has reiterated its commitment to collaborate with donor partners to provide a healthier future for Deltans, families and women in particular.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Mordi Ononye, made this know when the Senior Programme Officer, The Challenge Initiative (TCI), Baltimore, USA paid a visit to the state to understanding how TCI has operated in the last couple of years.
He commended the activities of TCI in the refurbishing of some primary healthcare centres (PHCs) and requested the expansion of their activities from the initial 13 local government areas to cover all the 25 areas in the state.
“We have indices like poor maternal maternity rate and infant mortality rate because they are all connected.
“We have those who don’t have the resources to carter for their large families. So it is very important that as a government we put proper population management,” the commissioner said.
Dr Ononye stated that though some communities for cultural and religious reasons do not want to subscribe to family planning services, the state was doing its best in the area of enlightenment, advocacy, and sensitization to get Deltans to subscribe to it.
He said that Deltans need to understand that government was not out to subdue communities but only trying to make the society healthier with manageable population that can be planned and projected for.
Speaking, Andrea Ferrand, Senior Programme Officer, The Challenge Initiative, enumerated some of the achievements of TCI to include the reinvigoration of the advocacy programme, which led to the establishment of a dedicated family planning budget line in the state government budget with substantial release of funds dedicated to family planning.
She added that there was an increase in demand for family planning, media campaigns, social mobilization, intra-facilities referrals such as in-reaches and increasing number of traditional and religious leaders speaking favorably on family Planning.
These achievements according to her have led to almost the doubling of number of women accepting family planning services over the past two and half years.
Ms. Ferrand disclosed that in the next phase of the programme, “we are going to consider how to ensure sustainability and sustain the gains attained so far.”
She requested for increased investments in demand programming through subsidized media slots by the state government to ensure the that attained gains, particularly increase demand for family planning were sustained.