More residents of Jalingo, Taraba, are now embracing child spacing, contrary to previously held myths and misconceptions about family planning in the area.
Some Heads of some Primary Health Care Centers in Jalingo and some beneficiaries of the system disclosed this to a team of journalists at a workshop on Friday.
They attributed the increase to the high level of awareness, as well as, the repositioning of family planning and other services in the State.
According to the Head of Family Planning Unit of Sintali Ward Primary Health Care Centre (PHCC), Jalingo, Hajiya Hafsatu Saleh, previously, less than 500 women of childbearing age came for the services in a year.
But Saleh said that about 1,500 women had accessed the services between February and November.
She also told the training workshop which was organised for selected Journalists that with the intervention of some donor agencies such as The Challenge Initiative (TCI), Additional Financing -Nigeria State Health Investment Project (AF-NSHIP) and others, most of the health facilities at the centre had been renovated.
She said that commodities were provided so that the child spacing services could be offered to interested persons free of charge.
“At our centre, for instance, there was a major renovation by some NGOs.
“They also provided the commodities so that we offer family planning services here for free.
“Our team of social mobilisers are also doing a great job in enlightening the residents.
Similarly, Hajiya Zakiyatu Ibrahim who heads the family planning unit of Turaki Township Primary Health Care Centre said, “some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding family planning in the past have been put to rest and now we usually have a large number of persons coming to access the services.
“It may interest you to know that even unmarried young people and adolescents now frequent the hospital for counselling.
“This is a very good development as it is pertinent for them to stay away from unwanted pregnancies that can cost their education and future,” Ibrahim said.
She, however, observed that the high number of people coming for the services had put a lot of pressure on the available commodities, especially implants.
One of the beneficiaries of the family planning services, 35-year-old Zalihat Ibrahim, said she had to resort to family planning after delivering her 8th child because her husband was finding it difficult to cope with school fees and other educational needs of the children.
“We are now able to space our children and I enjoy intimacy with my husband without the fear of getting pregnant,” Ibrahim said.
Mr Akinpelumi Akinsanmi, a development specialist hired by The Challenge Initiative,(TCI) an NGO working on family planning in Taraba, described the Programme as a solution to the menace of out-of-school children in Taraba and the country.
Akinsanmi, who is from Development Communication (DevCom), said that the workshop on media advocacy for Family Planning was aimed at engaging Journalists to assist in the enlightenment process and making citizens to embrace family planning.
He noted that many children ended up in the streets because the family size grossly outweighed available resources to cater for the education needs of all children.
He said that family planning, apart from its economic and social benefits, also reduced the risk posed by childbirth on the health of women and the family as a whole.
“That is why it is ideal for families to take the issue of family planning seriously,” the specialist said.
The training was aimed at enhancing the capacity of Journalists in the state on approaches to enlightening their audiences on the importance of Family Planning to the socio-economic realities of the country.