The Hon. Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has charged State Governments to review their population policy and implementation approaches with a view to encouraging families to see the need for moderate family size.
The Minister gave this charge while speaking at the inaugural Annual Memorial Lecture on Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, held in Abuja recently.
According to him ‘’Nigeria needs to invest about $652 million over the next five years on high-impact family planning’’
Prof. Adewole noted that with over 190 million people and still counting, vigorous awareness creation about the essence of moderate family size, especially in rural areas, had become necessary.
He informed that the rapid population growth rate could be attributed to the high Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 5.5 children per woman and low contraceptive prevalence rate of 15 percent based on the 2013 Demographic and Health Survey (2013 NDHS) pregnancies.
He further said that the current annual growth rate of 3.2 per cent, projected that Nigeria would be the 3rd most populous country in the world by 2020, with the population doubling by 2030.
The Minister pointed out that the Ministry had made efforts to increase domestic financing for the family planning programme through interventions like payment of $3 million in 2017 as counterpart funds for procurement of contraceptives and $4 million annually from 2018 to 2020.
He stressed the need for State Governors to invest in Family Planning program to ensure that Each State would take advantage of the youthful population towards achieving demographic dividend between 2030 and 2050.
He mentioned key areas of Focus in terms of investment like, improving access to quality basic, secondary and post-secondary for girls and boys, reduce maternal and child deaths and ensure all unmet needs for reproductive health commodities are met among others.
To this end, the minister appealed to all the Stakeholders, from the Federal, State Governments, the private sector, traditional leaders, health care workers, community based organisation and implementing partners to help make the changes that would translate into positive contribution to Nigeria’s economic development.
He added ‘’ I will continue to advocate to states to implement youth friendly services and to ensure improved investment in our youths and reduction of unnecessary maternal deaths attributable to adolescent pregnancies and unsafe abortions’’.
He emphasized that ‘’these are the cardinal issues that Professor Babatunde Osotimehin stood for while on this planet, we can guarantee an enduring legacy of a brighter future for all our women ,girls and young ones by staying focused and on track’’, he added.
Earlier in her remarks, the wife of late Osotimehin, Mrs Olufunke Osotimehin, appealed to stakeholders to ensure that they look at the world through the lenses of her husband. She noted that many young people, women and children were marginalised due to their gender, culture, religion and poor attitude of some men to them.
In his Goodwill Message, the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Edward Kallon, represented by Acting Country Representative of UNFPA, Dr Eugene Kongnyuy described Late Osotimehin as a global leader who fought for the right of young people and work to ensure that no woman died while giving life. He also appealed to government and partners to make strategic investments that would support the young people to harness their potentials.