A non-governmental organization, the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI 2), has said the belief in many communities that a woman cannot get pregnant soon after delivery if she is breastfeeding is not totally correct.
According to the Technical Director, Programmes of the organization, Dr Saratu Olabode-Ojo, while speaking at the training for media practitioners on Family Planning (FP) in Abuja on Friday, said that breastfeeding cannot prevent a woman from getting pregnant.
The NGO is working on a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded five-year project to eliminate barriers to contraceptive use and make family planning a social norm in Nigeria.
FP is the practice of controlling the number of children one has and the intervals between their births, particularly by means of contraception or voluntary sterilisation.
She said that for breastfeeding to become effective form of natural FP, three conditions must be met.
”They include the return of a woman’s monthly period, exclusive breastfeeding of the newborn baby on demand day and night with no additional food or liquid and that the baby must be less than six months old.
”If a woman is unable to meet all the criteria, she should go for another form of FP.
“There are many modern FP methods that can be used while breastfeeding,” she said.
Olabode-Ojo said that the other methods are the use of pills, intrauterine devices, implants, injectables, condoms and sterilisation.
She added that all “the methods are effective if administered correctly by a trained service provider.”
Dr Kunle Omotoso, the Programme Officer, The Challenge Initiative (TCI), spoke on ”Family Planning and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, saying that the adoption of FP would assist Nigeria to achieve the UN SDG 1 and SDG 2.
SDG 1 aims to eliminate poverty and SDG 2 seeks to achieve zero hunger, among other goals to be achieved by 2030.
Omotoso explained that if families embraced FP, they would in turn, be able to provide quality education for their children, improved nutrition, good health and wellbeing.
He said that these would translate to improved productivity and national development.
He added that “the benefits of FP toward improving the health and economic condition of families, communities and the entire nation cannot be over emphasised. The whole essence of FP is to achieve quality life.”
Mr Anselm Okolo, a Consultant, who spoke on “The Role of Media in Agenda Setting”, urged journalists should educate Nigerians about FP and its advantages.
Okolo said that journalists could do it as people believed what they saw, heard and read in the media.
He urged media media practitioners to explain issues thoroughly and from angles that would allow readers and viewers to take informed decisions.
Ramatu Ochekliye, the Social Media Officer, NURHI 2, spoke on “Family Planning Messaging in a Digital World”, and called on journalists to use digital platforms to educate Nigerians about Family Planning.
Mr Chukwuemeka Okeroafor, a Consultant and Programme Officer, Demand Generation, NURHI 2, said government needed to invest in family planning to ensure improved quality life for citizens.
He said that family planning is for improved health, poverty elimination, quality education and good health and not for population control.
According to him, families have a healthy and productive lives when they plan the number of children to have.
In attendance at the two-day training were senior editors and producers from both government and private media, the print, radio, television, and social media.