The non-release of N30 million budgeted for family planning in Nasarawa has stalled the implementation of the programme in the state.
The head of the Coalition of Community Link for Health and Family Planning Advocacy (CLHFPA), Mary Ashenaye, raised the alarm at a one-day media forum on the status of family planning in the state, held in Lafia, the state capital.
The media forum which was organised by Pathfinder International in collaboration with CLHFPA identified the lack of funds as hindering the proper implementation of family planning programme in the state.
She also decried the government’s reluctance to partner non-governmental organisations in carrying out activities in this regard.
She said the N30 million which was appropriated for the family planning programme in the 2022 state budget has not been released to the implementing agencies to carry out their activities.
“The lack of funds has stalled the programme across the state. A situation where a family planning budget will drag to the last quarter of the year is not healthy for the health sector.”
“The lack of political will on the part of the state government to invest in the family planning initiative, intended to curb maternal and child mortality posed a challenge,” she decried.
Kalu Idika, the secretary of the coalition, who commended the state government for reviewing the family planning budget from N5 million to N30 million per year in the 2022 budget, said that prompt release of the funds will hasten the implementation of the program.
Salomi Aya, who stood in for the state commissioner for health, said the state government has been doing all within its powers to support efforts aimed at institutionalising family planning in the state.
Aya, who is the desk officer, family planning in the ministry of health said, the sustained advocacy and support by Pathfinder International, the CLHFPA as well as other collaborators has led to the reduction of maternal and infant mortality in the state.
She commended the media for the active role it was playing along with other partners in driving the family planning messages, adding that traditional and religious leaders, who were initially reluctant, are now keying into the initiative.
She, however, said a lot needed to be done in getting women and men in rural communities to embrace the use of contraceptives and other preventive methods of family planning.
Representatives of Pathfinder International, Bayo Ewuola and Kosi Izundu, said the advocacy was intended to strengthen the capacity of the media to effectively report public health issues in the state.