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Access to family planning commodities suffer setback due to Covid-19 scare, shortage

By Hassan Zaggi

Women of child bearing age are finding it difficult to access family planning commodities in most government-owned health facilities across the country, findings by ExpressDay, has revealed.

Our Correspondent who went to the two states of the Nasarawa and Kaduna to assess the level of access to family planning commodities by women during and after the Covid-19 lockdown reports that most women could not have access to the commodity.

Even though some of the Primary Healthcare Centres (PHC) visited have limited stock of the commodity, women are however, not coming to access the commodity due to the scare of the Covid-19.

A woman who went to a PHC in Ankwa, a village in Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna state, told our Correspondent that she could not get the commodity before the Covid-19 lock down began.

The woman who refused to give her name, explained that she had to go to a private hospital in Gwantu, the local government headquarters to access the commodity.

On why she was at the hospital on the day our correspondent met her, she said: “I am here to check if I could renew my family planning. I was here before the lockdown but could not get it. I went to the private hospital to get it renewed. Now, I am here to see if the commodity is available.

“I discovered that the man in charge is not around. I don’t even think the commodity is available because my friend told me that she was here two days ago but she could not get it.”

Our Correspondent waited for the head of the facility, but he could not return up to the time he left.

However, a non medical worker in the facility confided in our Correspondent that he has not seen the head of the facility attend to women seeking for family planning commodities in recent time.

At PHC in Langa, another village in Sanga Local Government of Kaduna state, our correspondent saw that the head of the facility was sick.

An assistant who received our correspondent and pleaded not be named, disclosed that they have family planning commodities in stock.

According to him, in a month, they attend to close to 10 women who come to the facility for family planning commodity. The number has reduced since the lockdown began.

He, however, noted that they don’t attend to women unless they come with their husbands.

On whether they had the stock of the commodity during the Covid-19 lockdown, he said: “You know the lockdown affected many things. We had little shortage during that period but we replenished immediately things began to take shape.”

Commenting on the category of women that visit the facility seeking for the commodity, he said: “You know must women are aware now and don’t want to give birth to many children, hence, they come to get what will stop them from getting pregnant. Most women we see are those who have like four, five or six children and they don’t want to add more.”

On his part, the Community Health Extension Worker (CHEW) who heads the PHC at Gudi in Akwanga Local Government Area, Bitrus Bulus, disclosed that for the greater part of the Covid-19 lockdown health workers in Nasarawa State were on strike, hence, could not attend to patients within the period.

According to him, most women in the area don’t go to the facility to seek for family planning commodity because of the dual reasons of culture and religion.

He explained that most residents of the area are predominantly Muslims and therefore, most of them don’t believe in family planning.

In a month, he said, despite the population of the area, only about 10 to 15 women go to the facility to seek for family planning commodity.

“Residents of this area need more awareness on the importance of the family planning as most of them are still skeptical about it.

“Why we don’t experience shortage of the commodity here is that the women don’t come for it. Therefore, when we get the commodity, it will take a long time before it will finish.

“The Covid-19 has worsened the situation because since the lockdown was ease, very few women have so far come for the commodity,” he said.

Our Correspondent who randomly interviewed some women in Akwanga town reports that most of them said that they don’t go for their family planning commodities in government hospitals because they don’t get the services they needed.

According to them, they prefer going to private hospitals even though they will be charged little token.

Written by ExpressDay

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