A new report on family planning in the world’s 69 lowest-income countries, including Nigeria, published yesterday showed that 6,540,000 women use a modern method of contraception in the country.
The report, launched on the sidelines of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Nairobi, Kenya, indicated that although Nigeria was the second slowest growing in West Africa on the uptake of family planning, modern contraception prevented 2.323 million unintended pregnancies, averted 829,000 unsafe abortions and curbed 13,000 maternal deaths last year. Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) produced the report, Women at the Centre.
FP2020 is a global partnership that supports the rights of women to decide whether, when and how many children they want to have. The latest report is part of the 25-year arc of progress that has lifted hundreds of millions of women and girls since the Cairo Summit in 1994.
However, the report showed more women and girls having access to family planning than ever. It revealed that 314 million women and girls now use modern contraception, with 53 million new users in the last seven years, and nine million in the past year alone.
According to the report, Nigeria was part of the first group of countries to commit to the FP2020 partnership when it was launched in 2012. Since then, the country has made steady progress towards increased uptake of family planning.
The report noted that government was working with key stakeholders to address socio-cultural norms about family planning such as: preference for large families, religious tenets, and women’s lack of decision-making power in their sexual and reproductive health.
Executive Director of FP2020, Beth Schlachter, said: “The evidence is clear – when you invest in women and girls, the good deed never ends. Barriers are broken and opportunities open up that not only lift women out of poverty but elevate society and bring about economic gains. No other single change can do more to improve the state of the world.”