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Access to family planning cut by 100% as Ogun battles dearth of health workers

Emerging indications observed in all the 20 local government areas domiciled in Ogun state, shows that the Southwest state may be faced with immediate spike of unsafe abortion, unwanted and teenage pregnancy which could lead to maternal mortality as the state battles dearth of health workers in almost all its health facilities.

Findings from various medical and health facilities visited by BusinessDay revealed that access to family planning services has been sharply reduced by 103% due to lack of health personnel and challenges posed by Coronavirus pandemic which are seriously affecting the usage and access to family planning services.

Statistics gathered from Family Planning Dashboard between the months of January and May, 2020 indicated a shortfall in the number of women that accessed various methods of contraception compared to the number of females that were captured during a corresponding period in 2019.

Statistics reflected on the Dashboard as regards Family Planning services showed that 4,478 Injectables, 4,208 Implants and 815 Intra-Uterine Devices were accessed by women of child-bearing age in January, 2020, but there was a sharp drop in April, 2020 as 3,231 Injectables, 2,069 Implants and 570 IUDs were administered.

This represents the shortfalls of 38.5% of Injectibles, 103% of Implants and 42% of Intra-Uterine Devices (IUDs) respectively. Other contraceptives data also showed that 2,422 oral pills were taken for the month of January and 1,185 in April, 2020, respectively while 40,590 male condoms and 3,626 female condoms were marked with shortfalls of 23,124 male condoms and 1,681 female condoms within the same periods of January and April, 2020.

Reacting to statistics collated in Abeokuta, the state capital, Oluwakemi Balogun, Chairperson, Family Health Initiative, Ogun (FAHIO), expressed worry over the likely implications of little or no access to family planning services as the risks taken over unplanned pregnancies and unsafe abortions could spark off deaths among women of child-bearing age and invariably increase Maternal Mortality Ratio.

Balogun, who decried the ugly trend as observed with the family planning system in the state, implored the state government not allow the factors identified to jeopadize huge investments and commitments made by government and other stakeholders in ensuring effective family planning services in the state as any unwanted eventualities would rubbish all efforts and investments made so far.

She however assured the residents that the Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) target of 52% by 2020 is still achievable if government could employ more health workers and upgrade facilities across the state with provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to safeguard the existing health workers from contracting COVID-19 as well as adequate protection of intended clients.

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