SFH calls for expanded family planning services through private sector
The Society for Family Health (SFH) has called for the expansion of the provision of family planning services in Nigeria and other West African countries through the private sector. The Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) made the call on Tuesday in a statement issued by Mrs Jennifer Anyanti, Deputy Medical Director, Strategy and Technical, to commemorate World Population Day 2023.
The day, observed annually on July 11 has “Unleashing the Power of Gender Equality: Uplifting the Voices of Women and Girls to Unlock our World’s Infinite Possibilities” as the theme. Established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989, it seeks to raise awareness of global population issues.
Anyanti commended the Federal and State Governments’ commitment to scaling FP services, adding that the organisation supports the provision of quality service provision and products through its network of primary care providers.
“The possibility that all women, regardless of age or financial status, have access to the information they need to make informed decisions about their family planning options, and the ability to receive a service if needed pushes us to continue advocating for service provision in the private sector.
“This we do through community pharmacies, private clinics and hospitals, and patent and proprietary medicine shops, also known as chemists.”
According to her, the private sector plays a critical role in family planning and contributes to a total market approach to providing services for women. She said that over 60 per cent of people’s first point of call for health services was in the private sector, including in community pharmacies and Propriety and Patent Medicine Vendors. Anyanti also said that the private sector accounts for around two-fifths of contraceptive provision worldwide.
“In Nigeria, over 60 per cent of women obtain their contraceptive supplies from the private sector.
“Therefore, on this World Population Day with the theme: “Unleashing the Power of Gender Equality: Uplifting the Voices of Women and Girls to Unlock our World’s Infinite Possibilities”, we call on the government to continuously create an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.
“The government should continually ensure that regulation supporting private sector provision of contraceptives is supportive of growth, development and supplies through the private sector.
“This has a core role in addressing access to FP, one of the high-impact interventions to address maternal and child mortality”, she said.
Speaking about the organisation’s interventions in FP over the years, she said it had implemented programmes towards strengthening private sector capabilities in service delivery, demand generation, data quality and reporting. Others are supply chain management including last-mile delivery and building resilient health systems to improve access to sustainable markets for contraceptive services. She added that attention to equity, quality, affordability, access, method choice, and good counselling have been the central focus.
Also ensuring that women obtain information and contraceptives from the private sector sources are making accessing quality affordable health services in the spirit of Universal Health Coverage. “We advocate that governments should continue to engage the private sector partners in developing policies and programmes that expand access to family planning information, products and services to optimise equity in decision making for the communities for which we exist.
“We also reiterate our support to governments in provision of technical support and in exploring schemes such as self-care, innovation and supporting public private partnerships at scale to promote quality services and equitable, affordable access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health