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World Population Day: How UNFPA is assisting Nigeria in population management

The United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) says it is working closely with Nigerian authorities in the area of programming and procurement of contraceptives to assist the country manage its population.
The Assistant Country Representatives of the UNFPA Nigeria, Osareti Adonri, disclosed this while responding to questions during the commemoration of the World Population Day, in Abuja at the weekend.
The significance of the World Population Day commemoration, he explained, is to draw the attention of the general public, especially, policy makers to critical population issues and proffer solution with the hope that such issues or challenges will be addressed by those who are in position to do it.
“We are working with the programme of Nigeria. For example, if you talk of this area, UNFPA helps the country to procure contraceptives, the cheapest anybody can get in the world.
“Again, apart from helping to procure, we also put money in what we call the basket fund where Nigeria and other development partners also put money to make sure that these contraceptives are procured  as cheaply as possible and to make sure that it gets to the clinic where they are supposed to be used. That is one aspect of our work.
“We also talk about the issues of Gender Based Violence (GBV), we support data collection, analysis and use. We are supporting  the National Population Commission for census, for instance.
“We also have the agenda of three zeros  to make sure that there is zero tolerance to gender based violence, there is zero unmet needs for family planning and we want to make sure that we have zero maternal deaths. We don’t want to see any women dying on the process of giving birth anymore,” Adonri, said.
Speaking on the need for the population to live quality lives and have choices on what they need in terms of family planning, the UNFPA Assistant Country Representative, said: “But what we are saying is that increase or decrease in population is not the issue, the issue is the quality of the life of the person that is in the population.
“Let them be able to have choices to do whatever they want to do and to have the facility to be able to do so. That is the essence of this year’s population day celebration.
“We don’t really know if there is going to be a population boom or there is going to be a population burst, but whether is a boom or burst, what is important is that how do we increase our own quality of life by making services available to the people.”
On his part, the Chairman, Management Committee, Association for the Advancement of Family Planning (AAFP), Dr. Ejike Orji, raised the concern that Nigeria is in a what he described as demographic crisis, youthful bulge, high rate of emigration and security issues.
On the current Nigeria’s population, Dr. Orji said: “Well, I have mixed feelings. About 10 years ago, some of us were shouting that the way our population growth was going, that we are going to be in serious trouble.
“The signs of a demographic crisis were already there which means when you have a youthful population.
“Seventy per cent Nigeria’s population is under the age of 30 and when you see the high level of emmigration which still going on now and when you see nationals killing nationals, all these are happening in Nigeria as we speak. “There is hardly any day that passes that you will not hear that somebody has been killed somewhere or even dozens of people.
“We are at a crisis situation. Even though one may ask, have we made some progress, yes, we have. But the progress is too slow to mitigate the consequences that are coming up. If the progress was good enough, we would not be in the problem that we have now.
“Our fertility rate is 5.3. our fertility is at the fertility rate that we had globally in 1994 when we had the first ICPD conference.”
 On the way forward, he said: “The way out is that we must  make sure women have the services that they deserve and need.
“As we speak, 20 per cent of our women are saying they need family planning services but they are not getting it.
“Imagine when you add 20 per cent to our 12 per cent, it will be 32 per cent.
“We have a lot of demand generation, let us make sure that the women get the services. One other thing is that most of our family planning purchases are still driven by donors.
“We are bringing counterpart on the table. Nigeria promised to put in 4 million dollars annually, we hardly bring it.
“In programming, no product, no service. If you don’t have the product, there will be no service. So the women will show up and there are no services.”

Written by ExpressDay

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