The Programme Coordinator, Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PACFAH), an NGO Ms. Anu Rotimi has disclosed in Abuja on Friday that increased access to family planning can prevent about 1.6 million unintended pregnancies yearly in the country.

Rotimi has said that family planning helped to save the lives of women and children by reducing unplanned pregnancies and promoting healthy child spacing. Maternal and child mortality rate is a major public health issue in the country. “Evidence shows that the high death rate is largely due to high unintended pregnancies and low use of family planning services.

She has said that available evidence also indicate that increased uptake of family planning could avert up to 33 per cent of maternal deaths and 23 per cent of child deaths.

The coordinator has said that one major challenge that greatly hindered the provision of family planning commodities was poor funding by the government. “While cultural and religious bias and misconceptions also affect contraceptive use prevalence rate in the country, poor budgetary allocation is a major factor that is affecting family planning. Government needs to appreciate the role of family planning as a key strategy towards achieving national health goals.

Rotimi has called for the continued support of the media in raising awareness on the importance of family planning. “Media advocacy has been very effective in the recent past in disabusing family planning myths. The media continues to play a critical role in raising public awareness on the importance of family planning as an essential factor in promoting maternal and child health.

“Giving prominence to coverage of family planning will also ensure transparency and accountability in the use of allocated funds and resources.

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