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Delta govt releases N20m to support family planning activities

…coordinator assures FP programmes remain free to Deltans ...says economic situation underscores need for families to adopt FP

For the first time, Delta State Government has released the sum of N20 million to support family planning (FP) activities in the state and the amount would be used for the purchase of consumables for FP programmes.

Christian Tesola, State Coordinator, Reproductive Health and Family Planning who disclosed this to newsmen in Asaba, Monday, said that the release was the budget line for FP in 2020 even as he assured that with the support, FP programmes remain free for all families in the state.

“His Excellency, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa early this year has magnanimously approved and released the N20 million budgeted specifically for FP in the state and this is the first time the state government had approved a release for FP programmes”, revealed an elated Tesola.

The coordinator who disclosed that 53,583 women took up FP for the first time in 2019 in the state, noted that the various partners and advocacy groups of the programmes advocated for a dedicated budget line for FP and had pushed and succeeded in securing a budgetary provision for FP in 2018 and in 2019.

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He, however, lamented that the budgets were not released for 2018 and 2019 but expressed joy that in 2020, the sum of N20 million was budgeted and it has been released to boost FP activities in the state.

“With the budget release, issues of consumables among other services remain free for up takers as each facility in the state will be adequately provided for,” Tesola said.

He assured that the funds would be utilised in purchasing FP consumables to make up takers have free access to the programmes.

He lauded the government for deeming it right to release the funds, while thanking partners and the media for their continued advocacy to ensure that people access the services to plan their families.

The Director of Public Health, Philomena Okeowo, said that sustaining the programme depended on counterpart funding.

She noted that the importance of family planning could not be overemphasized, adding that the Gov. Okowa led administration has zero-tolerance for maternal and under-five mortality which could be reduced through an adequate family planning application.

She said that the present economic situation underscores the need for families to adopt family planning programme in the country to ensure good and healthy living.

“So, for what His Excellency has done, we are grateful and one of the requirements for family planning in the state is that we must have counterpart funding,” she said.

Nwanne Kalu, State Programme Coordinator, The Challenge Initiative (TCI), speaking on behalf of partners, said Gov. Okowa remained a champion for family planning in the state.

“Before 2017, there was no budget line for FP in Delta, in 2018 because of the push by partners and other advocacy groups, a budget was provided and this is a realisation by the government that there was a need for budgeting for FP.

“With the release of the N20 million for FP, it is the first time a budget line is being released by Delta Government.

“The governor is not only a champion for FP but he has demonstrated his commitment for the programme by approving the release of the budget provision for FP in the state.

“The partners are asking the governor to increase the vote for the programme because it has the capacity to impact other health programmes positively,” Kalu said.

The Chairperson, Advocacy Core Group, Rachael Obodo-Obunseli, said it was a long journey to securing the release of the budget provision for FP programme in the state.

“However, it is an achievement that we are able to secure a release of the fund for the programme.

We appreciate all who made the release possible and the media. But as a group, we are asking that government increase the budget line for FP in the state,” she said.

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