Group lauds Niger Govt. for allocating funds for family planning

 An NGO, Child Spacing and Adolescent Youth Reproductive Health, has commended the Niger government for its recent allocation of funds for the family planning subsector.

This is contained in a statement issued on Sunday by the NGO, signed by its Project Director, Dr Aliyu Shehu, and made available to newsmen in Minna.

Shehu said that the measure would give a new hope for improved health care provision for women of reproductive health in the state.

“Allocation of budget line marks a new hope for improved health care provision for women of reproductive health in the state, amidst shortages in releasing funds to the family planning subsector.

“We commend the state government on the giant stride of allocating a budget line to family planning.

“It will further enhance and fast track the processes of funding allocation and releases to the family planning sector,” he said.

Shehu said that the group met and deliberated on issues relating to child spacing in Niger.

He said the group also met to mobilise resources and generate the political will toward tackling the challenges associated with family planning and adolescent reproductive health in the state.

He said the budgetary allocation to the health sector in Niger in 2021 has dropped, compared to the allocations in 2018,  2019 and 2020.

According to him, the current allocation of 6.5 per cent to the health sector in the state has fallen short of the Abuja Commitment of 15 per cent to the health sector.

Shehu expressed concern over the lack of budgetary allocation to the family planning subsector, over the years.

According to him, “funding shortages will lead to Niger indigenes likely being responsible for their healthcare needs and this will have  catastrophic consequences for women of reproductive health.

“This will in turn hamper the indices of the state and so the blueprint commitment of increasing the state Contraceptive Prevalent Rate (CPR) from six per cent to 25 per cent will not be achieved.

“This could result to more women dying from complications of pregnancy and childbirth,“ he said.

The project director called for adequate and prompt release of funds to the health sector to enhance the achievements of the state 2017 family planning blueprint commitment of increasing its CPR from 6.6 per cent to 25 per cent.

“In order to avoid catastrophic consequences to Nigerlites and women of reproductive age as a result of poor releases to family planning, there is the need for improved and adequate releases to the health sector,’’ he said.

Shehu urged the state government, the state assembly and all relevant stakeholders to do the needful by reviewing the health sector allocation in the 2021 budget and improving on funds released to the family planning sector.

“There is the urgent need to review upward the percentage allocation to health sector in the 2021 budget and for government to strengthen its commitment of allotting budget line for child spacing,“ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was supported by the Development Research and Project Centre (DRPC), an NGO. (NAN)