Niger State Government has on Tuesday attributed the increase in Family Planning Centers from 222 to 527 to the period of the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted to a lock-down in the state.
While lamenting the 7.5% usage of family planning contraceptives in the state for both traditional and modern methods, the Executive Director, Niger state Primary Health Care Development Agency, NSPHCDA, Dr Ahmed Dangana said at a three day Media workshop field reporting trip on Advanced Family Planning organized by Pathfinder International in Minna that out of 100 women, only about seven access the service.
He explained that the period of COVID-19 actually shot the demands for family planning services as families were forced to stay at home, adding that efforts are on by the state government to further increase the number.
He identified lack of access to FP commodities, lack of awareness, gender and socio-cultural norms, religious beliefs as some of the barriers to family planning programme in the state.
However, Dangana revealed that the highest number of those seeking FP services were the educated people as compared to the uneducated noting, the need for more Media and CSO enlightenment on FP advantages, prospects and disabusing the minds of people on misconceptions.
He further disclosed that there was no dedicated budget on FP for the Agency as it is embedded into the activities of the state ministry for Health, but gets support from partnership with UNICEF and other organizations.
Also, the state Coordinator, Family Planning, Dorcas Abu, represented by 6 Assistant Coordinator, Ahmed Abdul disclosed that no fewer than 123 million women across the world were in need of FP, but have no access to the services.
The Coordinator also lamented that currently only 3% of uneducated persons seek family planning services as against 37% of educated persons.