Towards reducing maternal mortality ratio and ensuring optimum health for women of reproductive age in the country, family health expert, Dr Folasade Oludara, has warned women against having unplanned pregnancies.
Oludara, who is the director of Family Health and Nutrition, Lagos State Ministry of Health, stressed the need for women to avail themselves of family planning options to manage their fertility to forestall the occurence of unintended pregnancies.
In the same vein, the World Health Organisation, (WHO) has asserted that about 214 million women of reproductive age in developing regions who want to avoid pregnancy are not using a modern contraceptive method.
The apex health institution, through its recent Fact Sheet on family planning disclosed that of the 1.9 billion women of reproductive age group (15-49 years) worldwide in 2019, 1.1 billion had a need for family planning. It added that while 842 million are using contraceptive methods, 270 million have an unmet need for contraception.
Speaking on the Post Pregnancy Family Planning Project (PPFP) platform recently, Oludara said “Women of reproductive age should realise that they are fertile and can prevent themselves from having unplanned pregnancies.
“We should not have babies by chance; rather consider the health of the mother and economic implications. You must have an intention to have a baby before you get pregnant.
“With life and family planning, people have time to focus on their health and wellbeing because they are not overwhelmed by unplanned pregnancies”.
She explained the essence of the PPFP project, saying it is to provide an opportunity to access family planning immediately after delivery, to avoid any worries about having unintended pregnancies that can endanger the health of the mother.
The family planning expert hinted on the different methods available for women at either public or private facilities, by trained providers. She listed these to include oral contraceptive pills, implants, injectables, patches, vaginal rings, intra uterine devices, condoms, male and female sterilisation, lactational amenorrhea methods, withdrawal and fertility awareness based methods.
Oludara also noted that the public sector in Nigeria plays a more prominent role than the private sector in the provision of modern contraceptive methods (54 per cent to 41 per cent), adding, however, that this role varies by method type.
“The public sector is the predominant source for IUDs (79 per cent), implants (93 per cent), and injectables (74 per cent). The private sector is the main source for male condoms (81 per cent), emergency contraception (80 per cent), and pills (67 per cent)”, she explained.
As a means of encouraging women to seek for the best method of family planning, Esther Adeola, a businesswoman, and a satisfied family user, said: “I was on family planning for four years. I got pregnant two weeks after removing the family planning method. And I have a friend also, she is on family planning, the same method. She didn’t add weight. She is still herself and she is doing good.
“If you plan your family, you will enjoy yourself, you will enjoy your family and you will be able to take care of yourself and your children.”