The National Population Commission, NPC on Tuesday lamented the lack of adequate family planning services in Gombe State and many parts of the country.
The state Director of the NPC, Usman Ibrahim, also expressed concern that though Nigeria’s population Alhassan Yahya remains its greatest asset, this capacity is being undermined by the exposure of its citizens to preventable maternal complications, unsafe abortions and early pregnancy.
Mr. Ibrahim said this while speaking during the joint press briefing between the NPC and the Gombe State Maternal and Newborn Child Health Coalition, MNCHC, to mark this year’s World Population Day.
This year’s event, tagged: ‘Family Planning: Empowering people, developing nations’ is aimed at sensitising Nigerians on the need to embark on family planning methods.
The NPC boss said the issue is further worsened by resistance to family planning and child spacing which has been rooted in the people’s cultural prejudices as well as religious injunctions.
“There is the urgent need to save our women and the girl-child from the agonies of unwanted pregnancies and accord them rightful place in the development process through a fundamental shift in attitudes towards family planning,” Mr. Ibrahim said.
The Chairman of MNCHC, , in his remarks, said as long as the rise in maternal mortality remains unchecked, “there will be continuous increase in poverty in Nigeria.”
He maintained that access to safe, voluntary family planning is a human right which is central to gender equality and women empowerment.
Mr. Yahya also decried the low budgetary provision for family planning services in Gombe State as well as shortage and unequal distribution of trained professionals.
The MNCHC chairman called for the creation of a budget line for family planning in the 2017 supplementary budget as well as in the 2018 budget.