By Ibukun Emiola
Ibadan – Dr Muideen Olatunji, a public health physician, on Friday urged the Federal Government to improve social security and economic stability through the use of family planning.
He stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan against the backdrop of the implications of high uncheck population on Nigeria’s economy.
Olatunji, however, put Nigeria’s performance on family planning at 10 per cent, noting that the figure was far below the 45 per cent national and international target.
“We need to do more to raise the awareness on family planning; government needs to look at some indicators, what is the rate of acceptance, what is the level of awareness creation and education that we have concerning family planning as well as how far have we gone to reduce bias and beliefs against family planning.
“There is the need to expand the scope of the number of people that have access to family planning, some people are willing to have access to family planning but there are lots of barriers, those are the areas to look into.
“One key thing is to make sure that family planning is free so that people can come to the facility to access any family planning of their choice.’’
Olatunji said lack education on family planning was one of the setbacks to control the country’s population.
“Family planning does not mean that you will only have four children, three children or two children; it only means you plan your family to the best of your affordability, having the family size you can cope with.
“Making sure you have everything you desire as a family; bearing in mind the health of the mother not only that of the father through child spacing while considering the number of children the family economy can adequately cater for.”
The physician also advocated for the revamping of the social sector so as to tackle social vices and insurgency headlong.
“It is high time we look at issues critically and address them from source before it escalate; one of the ways to have a sane society is for government to increase spending on social sector, security, health and education.
“In the past people can access education without paying so much for it but now I can imagine how much people have to pay for education, this would further push people to the poverty line.
“This is because they won’t break even because of lack of education and social security; these increase the number of people who cannot cater for themselves.
“These set of people turn out to be the large number of miscreants we have on the street.
“For as much as family set up suffers individual problem, government will have problems to deal with; we will now have to increase budget for security because there would be need to curtail mayhem and insurgency in the society because of the miscreants, children that were not well catered for.”
Olatunji said children who are educated and well taken care of set values that are different from those who did not receive good nurturing and education.
Also, in a separate interview, Mr Yemi Osanyin, a radio host of ‘Towards a Better Nigeria’ and family planning advocate, said government policies on economy was good but if the population continues to grow exponentially there would be chaos in the long run.
“The Economic Recovery and Growth Programme is good but it has no specific strategy and intervention to control population growth. Government need to promote family planning because there is no way we can keep growing at the current rate and excel as a nation.
“Our growth rate is far more than our economy can support; towards the end of 2018 there was a projection by the UNICEF on the numbers of babies that would be delivered on Christmas Eve and New Year Eve put at 26,000 that would be added to our population.
“The figure looks insignificant until you consider that same number yearly then it will be a significant addition to the already population explosion we are witnessing in the country.”
Osanyin said as much as government was paying attention to revamping the economy such attention was needed to control the population in order to realise government efforts.
“People should have the number of children the available public facilities can cater for not just what they can cope with as a family.
“Infrastructure and all the other things that we commonly shared can go round if we monitor our population.
“The tertiary institutions in the country have exceeded their capacity; they are insufficient to take in the large number of students seeking admission while we turn out graduates into labour market with no job to offer.
“Also going for National Youth Service is difficult for most people who have to wait endlessly to be called up; they are eventually divided into batches and streams so NYSC can accommodate all. For how long will these continue. Let’s stop over-stretching the economy,” Osanyin said.