The Nigerian government has made a commitment to allocate, at least, one per cent of the national and state health annual budgets to family planning.
This is happening barely a week after PREMIUM TIMES reported the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to make provision for family planning in the proposed 2022 budget.
Minister of health, Osagie Ehanire, made the commitment at a global gathering marking the launch of the new decade of the Family Planning (FP2030) partnership, a statement published on FP2030.org indicates.
The FP2030 is a global partnership that supports the reproductive rights of women and girls.
2022 budget proposal
In the 2022 budget proposal, a total of N816 billion was budgeted for public expenditure in the health sector, representing about 4.93 per cent of the N16.39 trillion budget, but there is no single line item for family planning.
This is despite the projection of Nigeria becoming the third most populous nation after China and India by 2050.
Nigeria has failed to achieve the Family Planning (FP) target of enabling more women and girls of reproductive age to have access to contraceptives by the year 2020 partly because the government has repeatedly failed to meet its counterpart funding commitment for the goal, thereby hindering progress.
The Nigerian government’s refusal to include funding for family planning in the 2022 budget also occurs despite the country losing a key international funder for its family planning needs.
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported how the UK government ended its annual three million pounds to fund family planning in Nigeria.
Although there is no official reason for the exclusion of family planning from the proposed budget, health experts warn that lack of funding would adversely affect ongoing family planning targets.
Mr Ehanire said the Nigerian government pledged to allocate a minimum of one per cent of the national and state health annual budgets to increase financing for family planning by 2030.
He said the new commitment is part of efforts made by the government to ensure every woman and girl have access to life-saving family planning services.
He said the federal government looks forward to a future in which more Nigerians can make their own decisions about their fertility.
At the event, the Nigerian government also pledged to deconstruct the social and gender norms hindering the agency, autonomy, and access to rights-based family planning of women and girls, as well as those impacting men, young people, and vulnerable populations.
Efforts to get more information regarding the latest commitment from the health ministry yielded no positive result.
On Thursday, PREMIUM TIMES attempted to get a confirmation of the report from the ministry, but the ministry’s spokesperson, Olusegun Adesola, failed to respond to repeated messages sent to his phone.
At the global event, more than $3.1 billion in funding was committed towards widening access to family planning over the next five years.
Major commitments came from Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), amongst others.
These organisations made the commitment to sustain family planning amidst global crises like COVID-19, which has led to global cuts in funding and supply chains.
The Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Ghebreyesus, said the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the centrality of health and that global challenges require global solutions.
“The launch of family planning 2030 is an opportunity to expand and improve our collaborative work on family planning. FP and contraception, including postpartum and post-abortion services, must be recognised as essential health services and as critical for reducing gender inequalities,” Mr. Ghebreyesus said.
During the event, national government commitments were celebrated with countries including Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda sharing their inspiring pledges towards sustaining global action in family planning alongside Nigeria.
The FP2030 partnership follows its previous iteration as the FP2020 partnership which was launched in 2012.
The aim of FP2020 was to support an additional 120 million people around the world with access to modern contraception by the end of 2020. Although not all the targets were met, some notable progress was made.
Over these years, the number of people using contraception increased from about 40 million to over 60 million, the FP2030 report shows.
Over 121 million unintended pregnancies have been prevented, 21 million unsafe abortions, and 125,000 maternal deaths also prevented in 2019 alone.
As a result of modern contraceptive use in Nigeria, more than 1.9 million unintended pregnancies were prevented and 705,000 unsafe abortions and 13,000 maternal deaths averted between 2019 and 2020.
FP2030 is geared towards ensuring women and girls everywhere live healthy lives and make informed choices on contraceptive use.
It also aims to hasten the process of addressing obstacles that delay the advancement of commitments made by governments towards family planning, by strengthening result-oriented partnerships with stakeholders and experts.
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