The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says no fewer than 20 million women in Nigeria had no access to safe and effective Family Planning (FP) services.
The UNFPA’s Country Representative, Dr Diene Keita, disclosed this at an event to mark the 2017 World Population Day (WPD) on Tuesday in Abuja.
This year’s WPD has its theme as: “Family planning: Empowering people, developing nations’’.
Represented by Mr Osaretin Adonri, the Assistant Country Representative of UNFPA in Nigeria, Keita most of these women that had no access to modern FP method reside in rural areas and region of insurgency in the country.
He said that fulfilling unmet demand for FP in Nigeria would avert 750,000 unintended pregnancies and reduce by one third the estimated over 40,000 annual maternal deaths.
According to him, UNFPA has contributed to two per cent increase in FP between 2003 and 2013 in Nigeria base on the National Demographic Health Survey.
He added that the Fund had also contributed to a near doubling of modern contraceptive use worldwide, from 36 per cent in 1970 to 67 per cent in 2016.
The country representative stated that in spite this dramatic progress, there were still enormous challenges because about 214 million women in developing countries could not access safe and effective FP methods.
He noted that, fulfilling their unmet demand would save lives by averting 67 million unintended pregnancies and thereby reducing by one third the estimated 303,000 annual maternal deaths.
Keita admonished that better reproductive health care including voluntary FP can bolster economies and contribute to sustainable development by empowering women to complete their education.
“Family planning therefore is critical to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 1, to end poverty”
“It is also key to achieving other goals such as ending hunger as well as promoting good health and gender equality.
“UNFPA has set an ambitious, transformative goal to eliminate all unmet demand for family planning by 2030,” the official said.
Keita therefore called on governments and other stakeholders to work hard in achieving the goals.