Family Planning 2030 (FP2030), a global partnership that supports the reproductive rights of women and girls, on Tuesday announced that its new West African office has been located in Abuja, Nigeria.
The agency said the newly created Abuja-based hub will be hosted by Population Council Nigeria and will serve North, West, and Central Africa.
In a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES, the executive director of FP2030, Samukeliso Dube, said the agency is building on the strengths and successes of FP2020 to accelerate progress in various regions.
Mr Dube said the North, West, and Central African regional hub will cover 30 countries in the region.
He said it will also include staff expertise in-country engagement, youth partnerships, advocacy and accountability, high-impact family planning practices, as well as fundraising and communications.
“We are accelerating progress that ensures our efforts are country-led and remain globally connected,” he said.
Nigeria, serving as the lead of the FP2030 West Africa office is a welcome development and could be a push for the Nigerian government to invest more in family planning.
Several estimates, including that of the National Population Commission (NPC), pitch Nigeria’s population at over 200 million, a number expected to double in less than 25 years if Nigerian women continue to reproduce at the current rate.
The government had foreseen a population crisis almost a decade ago and identified family planning as a way to slow down the burgeoning population and reduce the high maternal and child mortality rate.
But the Nigerian government has repeatedly failed to prioritise FP and put a substantial number of women and girls of reproductive age on modern contraceptive usage.
This is further evident in President Muhammadu Buhari’s failure to make provision for Family Planning in the 2022 proposed budget.
“With a rapidly growing population rate confronted by pandemic, epidemic, climate change, food insecurity and social uprisings, the entire budget has no mention of specific budget line item for family planning, child spacing, provision of contraceptives or public awareness campaign on child spacing,” the executive director, Parenthood Federation of Nigeria, Okai Aku, had said in reaction to the budget.
Health experts warned that lack of funding would adversely affect ongoing family planning targets and services deemed the silver bullet to the country’s growing population.
Although Nigeria’s minister of health, Osagie Ehanire later announced a commitment to allocate, at least, one per cent of the national and state health annual budgets to FP, health experts said more is needed to achieve adequate coverage.
Mr Dube, the executive director of FP2030, said the agency is optimistic about success with the Population Council Nigeria as the host partner.
He said the council has been working with the Nigerian government and some health organisations in the country for more than five decades.
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He said the council is dedicated to meeting the needs of at-risk populations, including adolescent girls and young women, and to promoting access to high-quality sexual and reproductive health, maternal health, and family planning services.
Mr Dube said a second Africa hub was being launched in Nairobi, Kenya, and will work to strengthen family planning access and reproductive health and rights in East and Southern Africa.
He said this is in addition to existing North America and European Hub.
“Both of the Africa hubs will be led by a managing director who will be in place by July 1 and who will oversee strategy and engagement, with the Washington DC-based staff to start handing over their portfolio of work to the regional hub staff as they come on board.
“It is expected that the two African hubs will be fully operational in the third quarter of 2022,” he said.
Mr Dube said it is the agency’s goal to foster a truly country-led commitment process.
He said this will not only ensure countries can set their own goals but also facilitate better and more consistent connections with other FP2030 partners in the region, creating stronger programmes and accountability.
Mr said the regional hubs will put countries and regional partners in the driver’s seat for agenda setting, monitoring progress and collaboration.
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