An NGO, Marie Stopes International Organisation Nigeria (MSION), has urged media practitioners to advocate for the adoption of family planning methods for healthier and productive families.
The Director Programmes and Operations of MSION, Mr Emmanuel Ajah, made the call at a two-day workshop organised for journalists by the organisation in Ibadan, in collaboration with Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria.
Ajah said more awareness on modern contraceptives would aid family planning, and increase productivity and development in the nation, especially in rural areas.
He added that with this, women would be empowered to have children by choice and not by chance.
He said “MSION is at the forefront of expanding universal access to modern contraceptive methods, especially in rural areas and among less privileged populations.”
He noted that “Nigeria’s modern contraceptive prevalence rate is at 12 per cent, but this can be better with improved commitment and active engagement and participation of all stakeholders.”
According to him, cultural, social, economic and religious barriers are still inhibiting women’s access to modern family planning services, hence the need for more advocacy.
Mr Emmanuel Ugoji, a Media Consultant with IPAS and Marie Stopes Nigeria, stressed the need for more funding toward family planning services in the country, particularly in rural areas.
Ugoji said that 2019 witnessed a decline in funding for family planning programmes as government paid 958,000 dollars against four million dollars released in 2018.
Mrs Angela Onwuzoo, the Treasurer, Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria, urged media professionals to use their reportage to influence government to provide free family planning services in hospitals.
Onwuzoo also called on journalists to educate the people on the benefits of family planning.
Some of the participants at the workshop thanked the organisers for the education on sexual reproductive health.
Miss Blessing Agu, a blogger from Enugudaily.com, said “the workshop has strengthened the capacity of media professionals, built in-depth understanding of sexual and reproductive health and rights issues.
“This exercise will enhance media reporting of reproductive health issues, promote public knowledge and address myths and sentiments regarding family planning and sexual reproductive health, thus enable women to give birth to desired number of children.”
Mr Seye Ojo, from the Sun Newspaper, said the workshop had equipped him with more knowledge on sexual reproductive health and he would work toward correcting the myths concerning family planning methods.