Why Nigeria must increase funding for family planning, reproductive health – Experts – Premium Times

Participants at the 2022 future of health conference themed; “The political economy of health; investing in the future of Nigeria”
Nigeria must prioritise investment in family planning services to combat the incidence of maternal and infant mortality, health experts have said.
The experts at the 2022 “Future of Health Conference” held in Abuja on Thursday said adequate investment in family planning is key to addressing maternal and newborn death rates in the country.
The event was organised by the Nigeria Health Watch with support from [email protected], a Bill and Melinda Gates-funded project, and anchored by the development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC).
According to UNICEF, Nigeria’s under-five mortality rate is 113.9 per 1,000 live births, one of the worst in the world.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa says that one in seven global maternal deaths occurs in Nigeria. That is more than 50,000 women dying per year in Nigeria. About 95 per cent of deaths during childbirth are however preventable.
While speaking during the “The economy of Health” panel at the conference on Thursday, the president of the Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SOGON), Habib Sadauki, said Nigeria is a major contributor to maternal and infant mortality globally.
Mr Sadauki, who is also the project director SOGON- PACFAH @Scale project, said only 22 per cent of women are using any method of family planning. He added that reproductive health access is key to any developing nation.
He said some health indices like maternal mortality and under-five mortality are strongly related to the economic development of the country hence the need to invest in family planning.
He lamented that the federal government failed to include family planning in the 2022 budget, a decision, he said, caused a decline in gains already made.
He said although the government reintroduced the family planning line in the proposed 2023 budget, it is “too low” to address the challenges on the ground.
“The way a country finances its health care system is a major determinant of the health of its people, so the government must increase funding for the health sector and also prioritise family planning,” he said.
Mr Sadauki said several studies have shown that the health of a nation significantly boosts its economic development.
He said Nigeria can reduce the maternal mortality rate and improve healthy human capital if it gets financing right.
In her presentation, the founder of Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Company, Ola Brown, said the government needs to look at healthcare holistically and, most importantly, ensure it solves problems.
Ms Brown said young Nigerians are now desperate to leave the country because of the poor healthcare system.
She said the government needs to see investment in healthcare as a solution to almost all the needs of the nation.
“Investment in healthcare can solve not just Nigeria’s problem, but all of Nigeria’s problems,” she said. “Health, security, inflation and a lack of opportunities are among the reasons why people are leaving Nigeria.”


A senior health specialist at the World Bank, Onoriode Ezire, said investment in health contributes to achieving other developmental goals like reducing inequality and promoting shared prosperity.
He said the Nigeria health sector is still largely underfunded and health indexes are still very poor. “Investment in health is directly related to the growth of the economy,” he said.
The chairman of Metis Capital Partners, Hakeem Osagie, said any government that cares about the health of its people should invest heavily in the health sector.
Mr Osagie said it takes political will to prioritise and improve public health.
“We must ensure the government tells us how they want to improve the economy because that is the only way to improve health funding,” he said. We must let the political leaders know that their priority should be health.”
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Nike Adebowale covers the health beat.  She holds a degree from Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti. Twitter: @nikeadebowale1 
All content is Copyrighted © 2022 The Premium Times, Nigeria
All content is Copyrighted © 2022 The Premium Times, Nigeria

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