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Nigeria’s Maternal Mortality Rate Will Reduce If Child-Bearing Is By Choice – Marie Stopes

Marie Stopes International Organisation Nigeria (MSION), a Non-Governmental Organisation that promotes Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) has said that child-bearing by choice is a veritable tool for reducing Nigeria’s current high maternal mortality rate.
Mr Emmanuel Ajah, Director Programme of MSION said this while declaring open a two-day training programme at a two-day workshop it organised for the Network of Reproductive Health Reporters in Nigeria (NRHN), held in Ibadan, Oyo State, penultimate week.
Ajah regretted that Nigeria has high maternal mortality rate with recent statistics showing that, 451 women die annually out of one hundred thousand live births while three thousand women die every year from unsafe abortion.
However, he explained that the country’s high maternal ratio would be controlled if women do not give birth by chance, but does so by using any contraceptives of their choice.
He noted that the workshop was to discourage the myths and sentiments regarding family planning and safe abortion to enable women give birth to their desired number of children.
Mr Ajah maintained that Marie Stopes International Nigeria believes that children should be by choice and not by chance.
The Director however, noted that the demand for contraceptives had increased in the country to 36 per cent, but stressed that cultural and religious barriers were still inhibiting women to access modern family planning services hence the need for more advocacy.
On her part, Ogechi Onuoha, Head Marketing and Strategic
Communication of MSION during her presentation at the event described family planning as a key factor to reducing poverty in the country.
According to her, access to safe and voluntary family planning is a human right,  and  central to gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Onuoha stated that in most developing countries, including Nigeria, some 214 million women who want to avoid pregnancy are not using safe and effective family planning methods, for reasons ranging from lack of access to information or services to lack of support from their partners or communities.
“This threatens their ability to build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities,” she noted.
At present, Onuoha said 451 women and girls, out of every 100,000 die from maternal causes, adding that Nigeria’s reproductive health narrative needs to change.
Contributing, Mr Emmanuel Ugoji, Media Consultant to IPAS and Marie Stopes Nigeria, frowned at the poor funding towards family planning services in Nigeria, explaining that 2019 witnessed a decline as the government paid the sum of 958,000 US Dollars as against four million US dollars it released in 2018.
He also emphasised that Nigeria’s fertility rate stood at 5.3 per cent with a growth rate of 2.6 per cent, higher than that of developed countries, which he said, was responsible for insecurity and unemployment rates in the country.
In their presentation, Mrs. Angela Onwuzoo and Ijeoma Uche-Ukazu, Treasurer and the Internal Auditor of the NRHJ respectively, urged the media professionals to use their reportage to influence government to provide free family planning services in hospitals.
They also called on colleagues to educate the people on the benefits of family planning and stop the infringement of rights of persons who want the services.

Credit: IndependentNg

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