The Population Association of Nigeria (PAN) in collaboration with the Partnership for Advocacy in child and family health @Scale ( PACFaH@Scale), a Bill and Melinda Gates funded project, anchored by the development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC), will join other experts in a one-day panel session to discuss possible solutions to problems of population explosion in Nigeria.
The session will begin shortly after PAN annual conference holding in Abuja today with the theme; ‘Rising wave of global insecurity: addressing population data needs for sustainable development in the 21st century.’
Other sub-themes will focus on population gender and development, population and health as well as population and demographic dividends.
The panel session is timely as Nigeria recently launched the revised National Policy on Population for Sustainable Development.
The dRPC PAS project seeks to catalyse action through dialogue, bringing together relevant policymakers, experts and practitioners to deliberate on strategic pathways for the implementation of the policy’s content and actualisation of the main targets.
The dRPC said population growth should not just be an issue for the National Population Commission (NPC) but a collective responsibility for all.
“Population matters to all policymakers and government MDAs with responsibility for the economy, social protection, job creation and infrastructural development.”
The Chairman of the Association for the Advancement of Family Planning (AAFP), Umar Jabbi; Director, Family Health Department, Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Salma Kolo, and the Executive Director International Society of Media in Public Health, (ISMPH), Moji Makanjuola, are among other panellists expected at the event.
Stay on this page as PREMIUM TIMES provides live updates of the session scheduled to commence by 3:00 p.m.
3:07 p.m: The first panellist, Olusesan Makinde, the managing partner of Viable Knowledge Masters, is speaking on population dividend. He said population growth is an issue the country must tackle.
3:08 p.m: The second panellist is the Director, Family Health Department, Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Salma Kolo. She said the country is not comfortable with the situation of population growth. Mrs Kolo said Nigeria does not have the resources to cater for the growing population.
3:10 p.m: She said the Muhammadu Buhari administration is 100 per cent committed to population management in the country.
3:11 p.m She said the president has taken actual steps to control population growth in the country. She said the role of the ministry is to implement the policies approved by the federal government.
3:12 p.m: She said the most vulnerable group most affected by consequences of population growth is the women and children, especially those in rural communities.
3:13 p.m: She said the Nigerian government is adopting a fertility control method to slow down population growth.
3:14 p.m: Mrs Kolo said the government is doing its best to control population growth, especially within states. She said at least 10 states have committed to the goals of achieving this.
3:15 p.m: Mrs Kolo said it is important to provide family planning commodities if the country must prevent a population explosion.
3:16 p.m: She said the Nigerian government is also committed to the family planning 2030 goal. “Pushing family planning is more than perspective but asking what we have to do in terms of pushing the policy is important,” she said.
3:17 p.m: She said free family planning commodities are provided by government at federal facilities. She explained that efforts are in going to ensure these free commodities are available at private health facilities.
3:18 p.m: She said there is a need to connect education and development to control population growth.
3:19 p.m: She said most women in rural communities are uneducated and lack the knowledge of family planning.
3:20 p.m: She said a majority of them rejects the advice of family planning because of a lack of knowledge about it.
3:21 p.m: Mrs Kolo said if more women are educated on the benefit of controlling fertility, the country will make progress in controlling its population growth.
3:22 p.m: She said religious and traditional leaders can be used as tools to influence certain decisions made by women to ensure they live a healthy life.
3:23 p.m: Mrs Kolo has concluded her speech and the next panellists is set to speak
3:25 p.m: The next speaker is the Chairman of the Association for the Advancement of Family Planning (AAFP), Umar Jabbi. He is speaking on how Nigeria can benefit from the demographic dividend.
3: 26 p.m: Mr Jabbi said the messages have to be made clearer, especially to those at community levels.
3:27 p.m: He said the communication must be done in a language they understand properly.
3: 28 p.m: He said the main focus must be on women and youth who are most vulnerable to the consequences of population explosions.
3:29 p.m: He said miscommunication is a major tool that has discouraged people from adopting family planning methods.
3:30 p.m: He said the government sometimes creates policies that the people end up perceiving as threats to them.
3:31 p.m: He noted that the insecurity situation in the country is contributing to challenges already on the ground. “We all know Nigeria is in demographic crisis due to the insecurity challenges,” he said.
3:32 p.m: He also said government at all levels must adopt policies to end child marriage and enable girls to attain their potential.
3:34 p.m: He said communities need to be well engaged about family planning and let them know it is beneficial to them.
Mr Jabbi has ended his remarks and the next panellist is set to speak.
3:36 p.m: The Project Director of the Association for the Advancement of Family Planning (AAFP-PAS), Ejike Orji, is set to speak.
3:37 p.m: Mr Orji said 72 per cent of the national population is under the age of 30. He said about 13- 19 per cent are providing for the over 80 per cent of the population that is dependent.
3: 38 p.m: He said this has led to untold hardship in the country which has further increased migration among young people in the country.
3:39 p.m: He said many Nigerian youths are leaving the country in droves.
3:40 p.m: He said Nigeria has the highest infant mortality rate and high maternal mortality rates.
3:41 p.m: He said the government in partnership with private sectors much act fast to reduce the high rates of deaths, especially amongst women.
3:42 p.m: He said more awareness is also required for women and young girls to adopt family planning methods. He said the Nigerian government has made family planning commodities easily accessible for the people.
3:43 p.m: He said people especially those in rural communities must be encouraged to access these health services.
3:45 p.m: He acknowledges the Nigerian government’s efforts to control population growth. He said the effort is evidence of the launch of the revised national population policy.
3:47 p.m: He noted that the government must also introduce ease of doing business in the country. Mr Orji has ended his remarks and the next speaker is set.
3:48 p.m: The moderator introduces the next speaker, the Executive Director International Society of Media in Public Health, (ISMPH), Moji Makanjuola.
3:49 p.m: Ms Makanjuola said the situation especially for women in the country is terrible.
3: 50 p.m: She said there is no state in Nigeria where children are not seen roaming the streets during the day and young women coming out at night.
3:51 p.m: She said the majority of Nigerian medical experts are all over the world because the government has refused to make the country conducive for them.
3: 53 p.m: She said Nigerians are treated poorly and the country is losing a majority of its resourceful hands.
3:54 p.m: “In terms of us looking at the crises we have; we have to look at the government and ensure they give an account of the policies they made,” she said.
3:55 p.m: She said the government must implement all policies made to the people.
“We must make demands and ask questions about the scorecards of promises made,” she said.
3:56 p.m: Ms Makanjuola said the government has repeatedly failed to engage the media in its activities. She said the media is an important part of a country’s development.
3:57 p.m: She also said traditional rulers, communities heads and religious leaders must be highly engaged for the government to reach those at the communities level. “What about engaging traditional rulers and community heads to engage in family planning and reproductive health,” she said.
3:59 p.m: She lamented that the country has become over-dependent on donor funding and has failed to adequately fund its health system.
4:00 p.m: She said the federal government has failed to improve the country’s health budget. “We have never had a double-figure budget for health in Nigeria,” she said.
4:01 p.m: She said this has continued because the people have refused to make demands. She said people must speak out and demand answers from the government. Ms Makanjuola has ended her remarks.
4:02 p.m: The moderator, Mr Kawu takes the podium and announces the end of the event.
Thank you for staying with us.