Nigeria: Why Nigeria Needs to Increase Funding for Family Planning and Reproductive Health – Experts
Nigeria can reduce the maternal mortality rate and improve healthy human capital if it gets adequate funding.
Nigeria must prioritize investments in family planning services to tackle the incidence of maternal and child mortality, health experts have said.
Experts at the 2022 ‘Future of Health Conference’ held in Abuja on Thursday said adequate investment in family planning is key to tackling maternal and newborn mortality rates in the country .
The event was organized by Nigeria Health Watch with support from [email protected], a project funded by Bill and Melinda Gates, and anchored by the Development Research and Projects Center (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 maternal deaths worldwide occurs in Nigeria. More than 50,000 women die every year in Nigeria. About 95% of deaths during childbirth, however, are preventable.
Speaking on the ‘Health Economics’ panel at the conference on Thursday, the President of the Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SOGON), Habib Sadauki, said Nigeria is a major contributor to maternal and infant mortality worldwide.
Mr. Sadauki, who is also the director of the SOGON-PACFAH @Scale project, said that only 22% of women use a family planning method. He added that access to reproductive health is essential for any developing country.
He said that certain health indices like maternal mortality and under-five mortality are strongly linked to the economic development of the country, hence the need to invest in family planning.
He lamented that the federal government did not include family planning in the 2022 budget, a decision he said reduced gains already made.
He said that although the government has reintroduced the family planning line in the proposed budget for 2023, it is “too weak” to meet the challenges on the ground.
“How a country finances its health system is a major determinant of the health of its population, so the government must increase funding for the health sector and also prioritize family planning,” he said. declared.
Sadauki said several studies have shown that a nation’s health significantly boosts its economic development.
He said Nigeria can reduce maternal mortality rate and improve healthy human capital if it gets adequate funding.
In her presentation, the founder of Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Company, Ola Brown, said the government needs to look at healthcare holistically and, above all, ensure it solves the problems.
Ms Brown said young Nigerians were now desperate to leave the country due to the poor health system.
She said the government must see investment in health care as a solution to almost all of the nation’s needs.
“Investment in health care can solve not just Nigeria’s problem, but all of Nigeria’s problems,” she said. “Health, security, inflation and lack of opportunities are among the reasons people leave Nigeria.”
A senior health specialist at the World Bank, Onoriode Ezire, said investing in health helps achieve other development goals such as reducing inequality and promoting shared prosperity.
He said the health sector in Nigeria is still grossly underfunded and health indices are still very poor. “Investment in health is directly linked to the growth of the economy,” he said.
Metis Capital Partners chairman Hakeem Osagie said any government that cares about the health of its people should invest heavily in the health sector.
Mr Osagie said political will is needed to prioritize and improve public health.
“We need to make sure the government tells us how they want to improve the economy because that’s the only way to improve health financing,” he said. We must let political leaders know that their priority must be health. »