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Family planning services can reduce maternal mortality by more than 30 percent in A/Ibom

Against the background of high maternal mortality, the successful implementation of Family Planning services can be a tool to reduce the numbers by more than 30 percent, according to a development expert.

Akwa Ibom is one of the states with high maternal mortality and has yet to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target of 250 deaths per 100,000 live births.

Taiwo Johnson, a Director, The Challenge Initiative (TCI) which supports Family Planning services in Akwa Ibom state stated this after a visit to health facilities in Uyo Local Government council of Akwa Ibom state.

Noting that family planning services should be free to enable women to have children by choice and not by chance, Johnson who was in the company of other top officials of the group and official of the Akwa Ibom state government described family planning as low hanging fruits which she said should be available free to all women of child bearing age.

“Family Planning we know should be free, every woman should have access to Family Planning. Family Planning is a low hanging fruit for maternal mortality and if it is properly implemented, it will reduce maternal mortality by more than 30 percent in Akwa Ibom state. Having children by choice and not by chance, a woman should have children because she can, not because it happens,’’ she said.

Johnson who commended the dedication of the health workers at the health facilities visited while also lauding the state government for providing the enabling environment for the health workers to provide Family Planning services in addition to other services, she urged the state government to go a step further by providing Family Planning commodities and consumables to the women.

“We are impressed with the level of commitment the government is showing, we are also saying every state needs to procure Family Planning commodities and their consumables, the government can sustain it and without Family Planning commodities, no Family Planning services.

“Our plan is to work with the government through advocacy to make sure that budgeted funds are released , releases are very important, funds for Family Planning commodities, for Family Planning consumables and for Family Planning activities.

“We are in Akwa Ibom state, one thing I have seen is dedicated health workers, we have one health worker in a facility, and they are doing their best, yes we also appreciate the enabling environment provided by the state government to ensure that TCI can work in the state, because if the government had said no do not come, we know as partners, we cannot come into the state.”

At the health facilities visited which included the Primary health centre at Ewet in Uyo metropolis, the facility had a Community Health Officer being in charge of Family Planning services as raised concerns about the shortage of Family Planning consumables, the absence of an operational vehicle for referrals and lack of a perimeter fence.

The situation was not different at another health centre in Ikot Ebido, Oku in Uyo metropolis where the officer in charge also reported increased demand for Family Planning services with a total of 95 clients recorded at the centre in May this year.