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FG spends N480m on family planning

23 per cent of women in Nigeria, aged between 15 to 19 years, are already mothers or pregnant with their first child

The federal government spent over $3 million for the purchase of family planning commodities in 2011.

Festus Odimegwu, the Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC), revealed this in Yola on Monday at a news conference in commemoration of the 2012 World Population Day.

The World Population Day anniversary comes up on July 11 every year.

Odimegwu, who was represented by the state’s Director of the Commission, Shehu Ahmed, said the present administration had also taken a bold step towards better government involvement in family planning services.

He advocated that government, at all levels, should ensure the availability and accessibility of affordable family planning services to all couples and individuals who voluntarily asked for them.

“The focus is therefore on family planning, maternal health, sexuality education and HIV/AIDS prevention services,” he said.

He said that the 2008 Nigeria Demographic Health Survey revealed that 23 per cent of women in Nigeria, aged between 15 to 19 years, were already mothers or were pregnant with their first child.

According to him, 75 out of every 1,000 children die before their first birthday; while 40 out of 1,000 children die before the age of one month and 35 out of 1,000 between one and 12 months.

Odimegwu said it was worrisome that the maternal mortality ratio in the country currently was put at 545 per 100,000 live births, while 52,900 women and girls die every year from pregnancy related causes.

“For every woman that dies, at least 20 others suffer morbidities such as obstetrics fistula, infections and disabilities,” he said. “A lot has to be done. The reproductive health situation in the country demands a lot more holistic intervention.”