The Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunimbe Mamora, has reiterated Federal Government’s commitment toward expanding the uptake of Family Planning (FP) services in the country.
He said this at the virtual launch of the Demographic Dividend Effort Index Report (DDEIR) in Abuja on Thursday.
The launch was at the instance of the 6th Nigeria Family Planning Conference 2020 (NFPC), organised by the Association for the Advancement of Family Planning (AAFP).
The conference is a biennial gathering that brings together stakeholders to brainstorm on progress made so far, identify emerging issues on family planning/reproductive health and chart the way forward toward improving the existing situation.
It has “Post FP 2020 Agenda and Safeguarding Investments in Emergencies: Adaptation, Innovation, Resilience” as its theme.
Mamora, who described the FP Conference/launch of the DDEIR as timely, he called for collaboration by stakeholders to accelerate the achievement of Demographic Dividends.
He added that the conference was a platform for stakeholders and partners to leverage on past achievements for economic development and emphasised the need to manage the country’s population to avert disastrous economic emergence in the future.
According to him, if the issues are not deliberated upon, it will lead to poverty and underdevelopment.
He regretted that factors like the COVID-19 pandemic and low level of female education and misconceptions had slowed down the uptake of family planning.
Alhaji Isa Kwarra, the Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC), described the scorecard as a veritable tool for harnessing Demographic Dividends.
Kwarra, who was represented by Dr Adenike Ogunlewe, the Director, Planning and Research, NPC, expressed optimism that the scorecard would enhance planning and national policy.
He explained that it would go a long way in impacting meaningfully to national policy, as well as economic development of the country.
Ms Yosola Akinbi, the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President, National Economic Council (NEC), reiterated government’s determination to transit Nigeria to Demographic Dividends.
Akinbi explained that the National Economic Council was committed to ensuring that every woman was protected by having access to Universal Health Coverage.
Dr Ejike Oji, the Chairman, Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the Nigeria Family Planning Conference (NFPC), said reduction of fertility was paramount in harnessing Demographic Dividends.
Oji highlighted the importance of quality healthcare to mitigate the level of medical tourism in the country, which he said would increase the country’s income.
He added that “quality education is also very important because it will help in equipping youths for the future tasks of economic development.
“The ease of doing business, justice and fairness to one another can also go a long way in impacting on the economy positively.”
Ms Margaret Edison, the Deputy Director, Population Management, NPC, stressed the imperative of family planning in reducing maternal deaths and neonatal deaths.
Edison said that the country had zero unmet maternal needs, as well as family planning needs, which must be met to ensure that the country transited to Demographic Dividends.