Owerri – Marie Stopes Nigeria, an NGO, said over 50,000 Imo women benefited from its family planning services between 2015 and 2018.
Mr Effiom Effiom, its Country Director, made this known at the Certification Ceremony of Family Planning Service Providers on Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC) Services held in Owerri on Wednesday.
The programme was organised in conjunction with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Ministry of Health.
Effiom, who was represented by Mr Lucky Palmer, the group’s Director of Programmes, said over 120 midwives and nurses in the state were also trained as family planning care providers within the period.
He said that 10 of the midwives were trained as Master Trainers who were expected to train other people, while 30 others were trained as Post Abortion Care providers.
He said the group donated Intrauterine Contraceptive Devices (IUCD) and Jadelle Implant Insertion Kits, auto claves, medical consumables and medical equipment to the care providers for use in the different local government areas of the state.
The director said that the aim was to strengthen the capacity of public sector healthcare providers and service delivery points to offer quality long acting and voluntary family planning services.
“It is also to demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of integration of voluntary family planning services in routine facility-based immunization services.
“Over 50,000 Imo women have taken the family planning services of Marie Stopes.
“Also in the past five years, over 120 midwives and nurses have been trained to provide these services.
“Today, we are giving out certificates to them, an indication that they have been trained and doing worthy services,” he said.
The director promised to continue to ensure quality services in the state and provide the needed equipment lacking in some of the local government areas.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Angela Uwakwem, said that before the arrival of Marie Stopes, the state was lagging behind in area of family planning.
She said that with the programme, the contraception prevention rate in the state had increased.
Uwakwem expressed gratitude to Marie Stopes for bringing their services to Nigeria to ensure that pregnancy among women in the state was by choice and not by chance.
She thanked the state government for its support by providing human resources and infrastructure and the nurses for their commitment and faithfulness to the course, urging them not to relent.
Uwakwem urged the trained midwives to ensure they passed the knowledge they had acquired to others, noting that the success of family planning was dependent on women.
“Family planning is important for so many reasons. Family planning does not mean that you will not have children,but will have the number of children you can cater for.
‘’It means to have children by choice and not by chance.
“The aim of the programme is also for every woman to have access to family planning. The woman indicates the type she wants and it is provided free of charge,” she said.
Some of the midwives trained expressed satisfaction with the training and promised to give their best for the success of the programme in the state.
Mrs Calista Onyejeme, the master trainer for Owerri West Local Government Area and Mrs Chidinma Ndu for IKeduru Local Government area, thanked both the group and the State Ministry of Health for the opportunities.
They identified lack of equipment like autoclave and sunction machines as some of the challenges facing some local governments in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that certificates were also presented to the trained midwives and nurses.