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“Include men in the family planning advocacy” – Experts, at the Nigerian Health Watch Forum

The Country Representative of UNFPA, Dr. Diene Keita called for a more inclusive family planning advocacy, one that involved a strong inclusion of men in family planning process so as to get the necessary result in the country. Dr Keita made the disclosure at the Nigerian Health Watch Forum 2018, with the theme: “The elephant in the room: Men as change agents in the family planning discourse” She disclosed that Nigeria has contributed to 40% of the global burden of maternal death. A number that deserved to be urgently reduced, as the statistical data of 110 women dying daily during child birth must be urgently tacked. It is by so doing, she noted that we can have a world “where every pregnancy is wanted, and every potential of each child is being fulfilled.” UNFPA Representative, also emphasized on the need to educate the men folk about family planning, and not leave only the women to take important decisions regarding the reproductive health issues in the family. “We need to sensitize our men, and educate them on the importance of family planning, so they can be able to have children that they can easily manage, based on the economic situation of the country at the moment.” In a similar vein, she recommended stakeholders in the health sector to reach out to men residing in the rural areas, as a large percentage of them do not have the necessary information about family planning issues.

Speaking further, Dr Keita said family planning is all about education ,and we need innovative strategy like “the school of husband “for engaging men about conversations on family planning . “We need to put in place several innovations that will engage men in conversations about maternal health conversations .Family planning is about women’s reproductive health care, and sexual relations, and the men need to be fully involved”

The Country Director of Marie Stopes, Dr Effiom Effiom explained that strategic interventions have not been put in place to promote men’s participation in family planning issues. “We should start seeing men as advocates for family planning ,and see how they can play a Greater role in this regard ,and we have to be consistent to get a visible result ” According to him ,stakeholders in the health sector should start seeing family planning as a health issue ,and see it as a means of increasing economic power in the society .
“It will serve as a means of promoting gender balance, improve on sexual and reproductive health, and also reduce maternal mortality rate in the country.