Doosuur Iwambe, Abuja
Worried over the funding gap currently existing in the Reproductive Health and Family Planning (FP) budget, stakeholders in the nation’s health sector have called on policy makers and government at all levels to identify and address the gaps.
Speaking during a Webinar/Stakeholders Meeting organised by the Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN) in Abuja, the stakeholders expressed concern that most clients in some states no longer have access to FP commodities and services.
In his presentation on the topic, “FP2020 commitments; key findings from the use of the Motion Tracker in 2019 and 2020 in Nigeria” Dr. Aminu Magashi Garba who lamented that Nigeria is yet to meet up with its financial obligations to the global campaign stressed the need to prioritise family planning activities in Nigeria.
Dr. Garba who expressed concerns over Nigeria’s inability to meet up with its financial obligations to the global FP campaign said that
investing in family planning has direct benefits for development.
He identified challenges in the sector to include lack of multi sectoral platform and reduction of health sector budget adding that Nigeria’s involvement was a noble idea.
“There is funding gap in Family planning in 2020, we need to ensure that the funding gap is identified and addressed annually. Government needs to put in more money for the program.
‘’It is important for FG to honour its commitment to provide adequate funding for family planning. Sufficient funds must be allocated to family planning, but budgeted funds must also be released and spent in a timely manner’’, he said.
On his part, Director and Head of Division, Reproductive Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Kayode Afolabi, called for a review of reproductive health curricula and laws currently in use by regulatory agencies and the need to scale up advocacy at all fronts.
He also stressed the need to include FP services and commodities into the National Health insurance Scheme (NHIS) both at the Federal and States level, with a view to control the country’s worrisome population explosion, improve reproductive health amongst others.
Dr Kayode however commended some states including Lagos, Kaduna, Borno and Kano, for allocating funds in their annual state budget to support FP in terms of logistics or procurement.
Other participants who also lend their voices called for the inclusion of family planning commodities and services in the National Health Insurance Scheme.
They also asked government to consider giving women and girls in the Internally Displaced Persons Camps across the country family planning commodities.
Recall that the 2018 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) had revealed that Nigeria’s contraceptive coverage, indicated by the modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (mCPR), currently stands at a mere 16.6 per cent, and has stood at an average of 17 per cent for some time.
In 2017, the Nigerian Government, through her Federal Ministry of Health committed to set aside US$4 million (N1.2 billion) annually from 2017-2020 to fund the Family Planning (FP) programmes in Nigeria. The government planned to use the set aside sum to facilitate commodity procurement and distribution to respective states.
Daily Times reports that the constant delay and inconsistency in funds discharged has now created a gap of funding gap of $600,000.
Although the government has tried to keep up with its end of this commitment, shortfalls have occurred, the largest being in the year 2019.