By Cecilia Ologunagba
Abuja – The Federal Government has deployed more than 1,473 newly graduated basic midwives to Primary Health Care Centres (PHCs) across the country.
Dr Faniran Sanjo, the Assistant Director, International Co-operation Department, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday.
Sanjo disclosed this in a sideline interview with NAN at a two-day meeting of the National Task Force Committee, and Partners in Population and Development (PPD) on South-South Cooperation.
He explained that the recruitment and deployment was undertaken by through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
He said that Nigeria had showcased the achievement of the agency and other projects implemented by the partners at the 2016 International Inter-Ministerial Conference and Board Meeting of the PPD in Senegal.
“The midwives were deployed to PHC facilities in rural areas throughout the 36 states and FCT in 2016.
“The deployment of the midwives was aimed at improving maternal, newborn and child health outcomes and consolidation on the gains of the Midwives Services Scheme (MSS) of the Federal Government,’’ Sanjo said.
The official said the federal government through the relevant MDAs had developed series of programmes on reproductive health and had implemented them accordingly.
He said reproductive healthcare was one of the priorities of the current administration.
“The focus of the government is to make sure that the issue of primary healthcare, the issue of productive healthcare, the issue of child birth and pregnancy are adequately addressed.
“Some of the programmes and projects were on addressing sexual and reproductive health because issues of social and reproductive health affect mostly women and young people, and in particular young girls.’’
Sanjo said that relevant MDAs had carried out programmes on the National Response to Young Peoples Sexual and Reproductive Health, and Sexual Rights and Gender Issues.
“They have carried out programmes on improving Sexual and Reproductive Health of Youth Corps Members and Young People, and on the strategies to improve knowledge, attitude and practice of contraceptive in Northern Nigeria.
“Others included programmes to explore the Social Reproductive and Social Development needs of adolescents living with HIV in Nigeria.
“In addition, programmes on media interventions for adolescents reproductive and sexual health, and Nigeria Urban Reproductive Health Initiative focused on Urban poor were also carried out,’’ he said.
According to him, women in Nigeria begin childbearing early with too frequent pregnancies and on average have six children.
“Reports of last two Nigeria Demographic and Health Surveys (NDHS 2008 and 2013) consistently show that 23 per cent of our teenage girls (ages 15-19) are already mothers or pregnant with first their first child.’’
The director said that the UN World Population Prospect (2015) showed that Nigeria would become the third largest population globally by 2050 if the current fertility rate persists.
He said that good reproductive health implies that people were able to have contentious and safe sex life, and that they have the capability to reproduce with freedom to decide if, when and how often do so.
NAN also reports that the meeting is being attended by more than 49 MDAs and CSOs involved in reproductive health, family planning, population and development as well as humanitarian services.
They include the host Ministry of Budget and National Planning; Ministries of Finance, Education, Health, FCT and Women Affairs, NAN and National Population Commission, among others.
The meeting was supported by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).