Family Planning: NGOs urge Health Minister to increase spending

Gloria Essien, Abuja

Non-Governmental Organizations have called on the Minister of Health to ensure funds are increased, and released on time for Family Planning to improve the health of Nigerian women.

The call was made in a letter submitted to the Health Minister ahead of the ongoing London Summit on Family Planning 2020 (FP2020).

The Summit observed that between 2012 and 2016, the Nigerian Government met just 11 % of its FP2020 pledge to provide US$3 million per year for the purchase of family planning commodities and an additional US$8.35 million for life-saving maternal, newborn, and child health commodities.

This current expenditure according to the CSOs is insufficient to support Nigeria’s achievement of the National Family Planning (FP) goal of 36% by 2018.

The NGOs however commended the Minister of Health for allocating in the 2017 appropriated health budget of over N900 Million (about $3.17 million) for the procurement of FP Commodities and committed to support the Health Ministry, the Ministry of Finance and that of Budget and National Planning to ensure these funds are released on time this year for the procurement of FP commodities and funding of Nigeria’s Family Planning Blueprint (Scale-up plan).

To improve the funding for Family Planning and timely release of the funds, the 56 Nigerian NGOs proposed the following;

  1. The memo to request the release of the 2017 appropriated money for Family Planning be written on time and/or followed up if it is written already to the Ministry of Finance for its timely release.

 

  1. The Ministry of Health to strengthen and/or develop innovative funding mechanism that brings the federal government financial support in one basket with the development partners leading to sustainable financing for procurement of FP Commodities.

 

  1. The Ministry of Health to deepen its collaboration with Ministry of Women Affairs, Information, Youths and Sports and CSOs to make room for the voices of young people from a variety of backgrounds, especially the poorest and marginalized and design health and family planning solutions with young people rather than for young people.

“We the CSOs working in the nation’s health sector have experienced a tremendous turn-around following the commitment of the Health Minister to transparent and accountable Ministry of Health,” Dr Aminu Magashi Project Director Community Health and Research Initiative (CHR) and Coordinator Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN) said in the letter.

Dr. Magashi added in the letter that the commitment of the Health Minister “is as a result of your continuous engagement with CSOs at various levels to ensure inclusiveness and participation as demonstrated by your meeting with Nigerian CSOs during the 2016 Ministerial Conference on Immunization in Addis Ababa, introduction of the quarterly interactive accountability forum tagged ‘#OpenFMoH’ and your partnership with CSOs to hold consultation on the Roadmap for Addis Declaration on Immunization before the World Health Assembly.”

With the nation’s population exceeding 182, 867,631 million, Nigeria continues to grow by an estimated 3.2 percent per year (National Population Commission, 2009). If this growth persists, the country’s population could double in just 22 years.

Nigeria’s high fertility rate is a major contributor of the rising growth rate in the sense that a typical Nigerian woman gives birth to 5.5 children in her lifetime, despite the challenges of high maternal mortality of 576 deaths per 100,000 live births (NDHS, 2013), thus the need to invest more in Family Planning services.

Omolayo.A