By Cyriacus Nnaji
Health experts have decried low participation of private health practitioners in Post Pregnancy Family Planning (PPFP) project.
Dr. Saidat Okaga, Reproductive Health Coordinator, Lagos State Ministry of Health and other renowned experts explained as unsatisfactory the level of participation of private health practitioners in PPFP. The also advocated greater involvement of the private sector in PPFP engagement.
The experts took the position during a media Roundtable on Post Pregnancy Family Planning organized by Nigeria Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) in collaboration with DEVCOMS in Surulere, Lagos recently.
The theme of the event ‘Post Pregnancy Family Planning (PPFP) and the Private Sector: Opportunities and Challenges”. It also included Discussions on Communications/Media Approaches to Increasing Access to PPFP Services.
Okaga who spoke on behalf of the Hon. Commissioner for Health, the Permanent Secretary Health, Special Adviser to the Governor on Family Healthcare and the Director of Family Health and Nutrition Lagos State, revealed that “while more than 60% of health care services are being rendered by the private health practitioners in Lagos, but to our greatest displeasure, data has shown us that only about 13 of this 60% of private practitioners are actually involved in the family planning programme, so we want to encourage them, that is why when the PPFP project came on board we were happy because for us to get 74% contraceptive prevalent rate by the year 2020, we have to work very hard, so we encourage more private practitioners to come on board.”
Post pregnancy family planning (PPFP) / post abortion family planning (PAFP) is a service delivery strategy that expands access to FP through integration with the existing continuum of maternal, newborn and child health services.
It is aimed at delivering family planning services to post pregnancy women in their first two years after birth using the continuum of care to ensure that all women achieve their reproductive intentions. It is also a key investment to fulfil the FP2020 commitments and SDGs
According to Okaga, if family planning programming is accessed appropriately, it would save 30% of mothers from maternal mortality, abortion and unwanted pregnancies. She said nobody wants any pregnant woman or the one that is breast-feeding to die prematurely. “When a woman has the requisite number of babies that she can naturally, physiologically, mentally, even financially have, family planning has so many ripple effects, and not just for the health of the mother, it affects the family wellbeing generally, the children would be able to get the best both in health and education. We are not saying that women should stop having babies, no, what we are saying is space them, have the number that you can take care of so that for the woman, her body would be able to get back to normal.”
Okaga also spoke on vision FP 2020, which was designed to ensure a global partnership of everybody, women, men, children, private partners all geared towards guaranteeing a right based approach to family planning. It also enhances achievement of what she called the 3Ws. “The 3Ws include What number of children a woman should have, When she should have it, and Who she should have it with. There are so many Ws one can think of. Again, there is no coercion, no force. So vision FP2020 is for us to have right based approach for family planning”
Saidat said the role of the media in the FP2020 is to report correctly, “You have to know the initiative, the core value of post pregnancy family planning (PPFP) issues. We have seen that from the moment a woman delivers to two years post delivery period, she must be well taken care of and must have family planning services available to her before she decides to have another child. So you should be conversant with the trend.”
She said the gains of family planning may not be immediate but in the long run, you are going to feel it, “we would be able to avert millions of women dying unnecessarily.”
Barr. Ayo Adebusoye, chairman of Lagos State Advocacy Working Group LAWG delivered a paper on the need to scale up private sector involvement on family planning. He stressed the role of the private health care practitioner and need for them to play active role in PPFP.