Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has been tasked to lift embargo on employment especially in the health in order to reduce maternal mortality rate in the state.
This is necessary so as to fill the gap created by the shortage of medical personnels in government hospitals across the state.
Senior Program Officer, Advocacy and Demand Generation of Nigerian Urban Reproductive Heath Initiative (NURHI), Ibadan office, Mr. Rapheal Samuel gave the charge at a ‘Two-Day Training on Writing Human Angle Stories on Family Planning’ organized by Development Communication (DevComs) Network in conjunction with NURHI in Ibadan.
Speaking on the topic “Family Planning: Accessibility and Availability, Samuel declared that about 38 % contraceptive prevalence rate targeted for Nigeria 2018 is still low in the country compared to countries like Italy and Saudi Arabia despite the aggressive campaign over the decades by various organizations.
Samuel while decrying maternal mortality rate, 252 out of 100,000 women in the state appealed to the state government to urgently lift embargo placed on employment over three years ago to reduce the burden currently faced by women in accessing health care and facilities especially in the state.
“The rate of deaths according to the latest report, 252 in 100,000 is even bad in Oyo State, we meet members of the House of Assembly, some of them even said it is better but we asked the community and religious leaders who said it is bad, can you see the difference, we want to have a situation where no woman will die as a result of complications during or after pregnancy here.
He said that campaign for family planning is not to limit or reduce the number of children a family can have but a way to space them for the betterment of women and men and other members of the family.
“We are not limiting the number of children, we are not saying the number but what we are saying is to space your children, we don’t want women to die as a result of complications during childbirth.
“Family planning is not a license to promiscuity, accessibility to family planning is still a problem.
“Dearth of personnel is a problem we are facing, when you go to a hospital the next time you go they will tell you that the person you meet last time has retired and the government is not replacing them, the government is not recruiting, they recruited last over three years ago.
“We want the state government to lift embargo on employment. We appealed to the state government to lift embargo on employment especially in the area of health.
Investigation by DAILY POST revealed that as at September 2016, there are only 22 doctors in all the 33 local government areas in the state. The situation is said to be worsen now that some of them have retired and the state government has created 35 LCDAs.
This is absurd according to the participants compared to other states such as Ondo and Lagos where there are two to four doctors per local government area.
DevComs Program Officer, Omobonike Adebayo, informed that the training was put together to strengthen the capacity of journalists for research based reports on Maternal and Child Health issues with focus on Family Planning.
“Nigeria’s population continues to increase rapidly with no commensurate development in health care service delivery.
“With a current estimated population of 186 million and an annual growth rate of about 2.5%, Nigeria’s huge population, fuelled by high birth rate without good family planning, can be a huge burden with resultant poor health indices such as high maternal and infant deaths.
“Nigeria’s maternal and child morbidity is one of the highest in the world.
This according to her necessitated the need to carry journalists along having recognize role which the forth estate plays in the political, socio-economic development of any society.
In her presentation titled ‘Family Planning: The Catch, Choices and Challenges in Nigeria’ Dr. Oluwakemi Sigbeku said that challenges facing the heath sector can be drastically reduced if heath is prioritised.
Sigbeku maintained that modern methods of family planning are available for both male and female. These include condoms (male and female), capsules, pills, withdrawal method (male) and vasectomy (male).
She said family planning can earn Nigeria billions of naira. This according to her, when families are properly planned and number of planned children are given birth, the economy of the family which will translate to the whole society will improved.
She however listed inadequate demand creation activities, poor attitude of some health workers, inadequate male involvement, low women status, geographical, financial access as well as misconceptions as some of the challenges facing the campaign as she called on the participants to help them address.