The National Population Commission (NPC) in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has expressed worries over rapid population growth in the country.
Speaking at the sidelines of third anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), Nairobi Summit, in Abuja, the Chairman of National Population Commission (NPC), Nasir Isah Kwarra, said there need for more budget to purchase family planning commodities as more women are now willing to use contraceptives.
Kwarra said: “When women lack access to information and services that allow choices regarding their reproductive life, then there is injustice.
“Nigeria rank among countries with high (19%) unmet need for family among currently married women and 48 percent among sexually active unmarried women. Modern contraceptive prevalence rate (mCPR) is among the lowest (12%) in the world; high unacceptable preventable maternal deaths (512 per 100,000 live births), 19 percent of our teenage girls (age 15-19 years) have begun childbearing and unabated occurrence of early/child/forced marriage.
“These are evidence we cannot shy away from. Added to that, is either non-existence or inadequate annual budgetary provisions specific for family planning, jeopardizing our efforts to manage our population.
“At this point, I will like to re-echo the imperative for adequate financing, distribution and availability of free family planning services commodities and consumables in a sustainable manner for all women, irrespective of where the reside,” he said.
The Country Representative, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Ulla Mueller, urged the government to release funds allocated for the first two years of the commitment as the agency was dire need of it.
Mueller explained that the Nairobi summit emphasised the imperatives of ending maternal deaths, Gender Based Violence and other violations against women.
She said: “I think we all recognize that the progress when it comes to contraceptive prevalence rates in Nigeria has been very slow.
“I will say that in a country with a population growth like Nigeria to be able to maintain a 12% CPR is actually also an achievement that has not dropped. But there has been concern raised and that is also wife encouraging that the Nairobi summit the government committed also a financial attribution towards the procurement of supplies and commodities,” she said.
Also, the Chairman Technical Management Committee, Association for the Advancement of Family Planning (AAFP), Dr Ejike Oji, reiterated the importance of stepping up access to family planning in the country.
He explained that family planning had the capacity to drive economic development with lower fertility rate, and improved Contraceptive Prevalence Rate.
He called on government to increase funding for family planning, which according to him is fundamental in catapulting Nigeria to higher levels.