Demographic Crises: NGOs advocate more investment on reproductive issues

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A coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) on Friday appealed to the Federal Government and other stakeholders to make more investments and innovations into Family Planning (FP) services to stop a demographic crisis in the country.
The NGOs made the appeal during a media roundtable organised by the Association for the Advancement of Family Planning (AAFP) hosted by MamaYe Evidence for Action in Abuja.
The organisations said that increased investments and innovations were necessary to scale-up access to FP to tackle demographic crisis in Nigeria.
Dr Ejike Orji, the Chairman, Technical and Management Committee, AAFP, said: “The National Population Commission says that Nigeria has about 198 million people; in 2006, Nigeria has about 140 million and in 12 years, we added 58 million people.
“It is a fastest population growing trajectory in recent times, we are in serious trouble and demographic crises unless we watch it,’’ Orji said.
According to him, “we want to see more investment and new ways of doing things towards scaling up FP uptake in Nigeria’’.
The committee chairman said that Nigeria’s population growth rate was 3.2 per cent and the national development growth rate was far below 3.2 per cent.
He stressed that by this scenario, it meant that as the country increased in population every year it became poorer.
“Remember recently, the World Bank came with a report that Nigeria is one of the countries with the highest number of poorest people globally with about 80 million Nigerians being abjectly poor.
“Nigeria has overtaken India, and we are not near and close to India’s population. India is about 1.3 billion people while Nigeria is 198 million.
“Yet, Nigeria houses more poor people than India. We are in population crisis unless we invest properly now,’’ he said.
Dr Mojisola Odeku, the Country Director, Nigeria Urban and Reproductive Health Initiative II (NURHI 2), said government at all levels should ensure full integration of FP services into health insurance schemes.
Odeku said that contraceptives and other FP services should be part of the minimum healthcare package by the health insurance providers to scale up uptake to enhance maternal and reproductive health indices.
She said that full coverage of FP services would open opportunities for health insurance enrollees to access the services at private facilities at affordable rate.
Odeku said for Nigeria to increase its contraceptive prevalence rate, health insurance providers must provide full FP services beyond counselling, coverage of ante-natal services and deliveries.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the roundtable was in preparation for the upcoming 5th Nigeria Family Planning Conference (NFPC) and Annual Population Lecture Series (APLS) schedule to hold from Dec. 4 to 6. (NAN)

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