Written by Ijeoma UKAZU
Covid-19: Experts advocates innovative ways for contraception availability to women, girls
Family planning experts has called on the federal government to put in place strategies that would make contraception available to women and girls despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Making this call during a webinar organised by Network of Reproductive Health Journalists, Nigeria, NRHJN, to mark this year’s World Population Day, the former Country Director, Ipas Dr. Ejike Oji laments that the impact of disruptions of services in health facilities would give rise to unplanned, unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortion.
Oji said, "we need to develop strategies to live with the virus pending the discovery of vaccine. We need to develop other ways of offering family planning services to women and girls. The use of technology is being canvassed and the use of motor cycles to supply commodities to women."
Commenting on funding, he said that, the pandemic has posed some challenges as most state governments had passed their budget before the pandemic struck, adding that the opportunity cost of the pandemic is huge and will affect women’s health and rights.
Oji however added that, Nigeria needs to reduce the rate of COVID-19 transmission and hospitalization to avoid overwhelming the health care system.
Also speaking during the webinar, the Assistant Representative and Lagos State coordinator, United Nations Population Fund UNFPA UNFPA, Dr Omolaso Omosehin stated that, " the lockdown and unavailability of contraceptive and other health need may give rise to increase in unsafe abortion and eventual loss of lives."
He added that one of the major problem is the delay in the distribution of commodities during the lockdown. Also, resulted in many women and girls are being afraid of going to the hospital to access care.
He noted that from UNFPA’s study, more than 47 million women could lose access to contraception in 114 low and middle income countries owing to disruptions to health services occasioned by the multiple impacts of the pandemic.
Omosehin said, according to the study, this lack of access to family planning services could lead to seven million unintended pregnancies in the coming months.
Also speaking on COVID-19 pandemic, he advised that, "we should not underrate the pandemic. It is our responsibility to do our best and adhere to recommended precautionary measures."