‘Battling Misconception & Religion in Tackling High Population’
Morning Crossfire begins with Wemimo Adewuni and Sheriff Quadri tackling population problems in Nigeria by looking at reproductive health issues.
To start with, in Nigeria, research studies claim that the current male population estimate is about 103 million; current female population is about 100 million. The former constitutes 50.6% while the latter constitutes about 49.4% of the country's population. Further statistics show that, this year, the births recorded is estimated to be around 6 million; while deaths recorded is about 2 million.
In the quest to salvage subsequent increasing population, the Federal Government in 2012 London Summit on Family Planning made a commitment to scale up promotion of family planning to Nigerians. Efforts to slow down population growth and reduce maternal and child mortality rate in Nigeria through family planning are not yielding the desired result. Perhaps, this is owing to the fact that the male gender has not been properly integrated into the programme.
Wemimo says that some men always believe that family planning is not for them and whenever she visits family planning offices, men are usually not found there at all and don’t seem to care about it.
Tayo Olufemi agrees. She says it is because of stigmatization. “The general misconception is that women who go into it are going into promiscuity, and this just one reason. So this is strongly attached to stigmatization.”
Research indicate that about 87 percent of women in Nigeria or their partners do not use modern or traditional contraceptives.
Regarding the aforementioned, Dr. Duduyemi says a lot is being done but we still need to do a lot more. She also refers to what Tayo says about integration of family planning into all healthcare services. “Meaning that when you come in for family healthcare, you would be intimated about family planning. There is a 9-month window at which period a woman can talk about it with her husband. So, most likely, by the time you have a baby, you would have known what type you want to make use of.”
She also mentions that there are quick methods that women can take right there as they are having children. The best thing is for people who have had good experiences to tell their own side of the stories. But there are many negative stories spreading around. On the show, she enlightens the masses about family planning methods.
Rotimi also makes a brief point that some people said their baby was holding the IUV when he or she was being born. “One of the achievements of those of sustainable development advocates is to ensure that sexual and reproductive health and rights are in two SDGs, says Rotimi.
“One is the SDG for women and the other is the SDG for health. Family planning is of tremendous benefit for women of childbearing age. It is crucial for the woman to space his or her children. The other side is the economic issues. The women are able to add to the economy when they are educated and are not spending all the days of their lives having babies. There's no basis for the man to tell the woman that having babies is the natural course for women. Maybe there should be an exchange of roles here. Let's see what will happen if men stand a chance to get pregnant everytime they have sex.”
Furthermore, statistics from the 2016/2017 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), only 11 percent of women of ages 15 to 49, currently married or in union, use the method in the country. This statistic helps reveal that much needs to be done, especially in the northern region of the country to make Nigerian women embrace modern contraceptives.
Survey shows that most of the women who do not use any form of contraceptives were those within the high fertility age band (15-29). Among the three major ethnic groups, the Hausas are the least group who uses any form of contraceptive. 92 per cent of sexually active Hausa women were not using any contraceptive followed by Igbo which was 77 per cent and Yoruba 72 per cent respectively.
The three states in Nigeria with the highest prevalence of non-usage of contraceptive wereJigawa, Ebonyi and Yobe with 98, 97 and 96 per cent respectively. Findings also pinpoint the fact that the efforts of the Nigerian federal government seem to be frustrated due to the various misconceptions and religious beliefs Nigerians possess as regards family planning.
• What are the family planning options that a man could get to use?
• Could you propose some policies the government needs to formulate in order to ensure family planning achieves success in the country?
Azeezat Olaoluwa - Journalist with BBC, Fellow Wole Soyinka Centre
Dr Adeola Olaniyi-Duduyemi – Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health
Rotimi Sankore – Data Analyst, Development Expert
Morning Crossfire with Wemimo Adewuni (@wemimospot) & Sheriff Quadry (@SheriffQuadry), alongside Rotimi Sankore (@RotimiSankore)
Posted by Jude Chukwuemeka