Reproductive health stakeholders in Niger State have raised fears over poor funding for family planning and severe funding shortages to Child Spacing Advocacy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic response in the State.
The experts say more women may lose their lives from complications due to reproductive health and pregnancy complications. This was contained in a communiqué issued by the group at the weekend and signed by the Project Director of the Centre for Communication and Reproductive Health (CCRHS), Dr Aliyu Yabagi Shehu.
They alleged that the state Government has out of the hundreds of million budgeted for Family Planning in the state for the past five years released less than ten percent. From 2015 to 2020 about N250 million have been allocated in the state budget to family planning but only N17.5 million have been released making it only 7%.
Expressing worry at the end of a technical working group meeting on Child Spacing and the Adolescent Youth Reproductive Health in the State, the group stated that if nothing was done to address the issue, the State may not meet the Contraceptive Prevalent Rate (CPR) target of 25 per cent by 2020.
For Niger State to harvest positive health indicators there is the need to do more for the population in terms of increased funding and access to family planning services and reducing inequities in the health delivery system, they said.
They lamented that the lumping of family planning budget with the budget of other programmes in Niger State health budget has led to inadequate fund releases to family planning, arguing that, this has increased possibilities of complications and death among women of reproductive age in the state.
The communiqué also reminded the Government of its 2017 commitment of increasing the state CPR from 6 per cent to 25 per cent, insisting that the Contraceptive Prevalent Rate is the determinant factor to women dying as a result of reproductive health and pregnancy complications.
The experts also asked the state government to show more commitment towards tackling the rising population growth and curbing the dangers of obstetric complications among women.