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Family planning saves lives, reduces maternal mortality, abortion – expert

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A family planning expert, Dr Uwemedimo Esiet, has advised Nigerian women to adopt new reproductive health care products.

Esiet, Director and Co-Founder, Action Health Incorporated (AHI), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), gave the advice in Owerri on Saturday at a one-day “High Level Advocacy Meeting on ‘Sayana Press Roll Out Project”.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the advocacy meeting was organised by AHI in conjunction with UNFPA and Imo State Government.

Esiet, represented by Mr Tunde Onasanya, Manager in AHI, described Sayana Press as a contraceptive intervention geared towards providing more opportunities for voluntary access to family planning services among women of reproductive age.

He said that AHI, as an NGO, was established in 1989 and dedicated to promoting young peoples’ health and development to ensure successful transition to healthy and productive adulthood.

Esiet said that the organisation had rolled out and would implement Sayana Press Project in Imo and other states of Abia, Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers, targeting over 30,000 women.

He expressed gratitude to Imo State Ministry of Health, Imo State Primary Healthcare Board and other stakeholders for approving the initiative and for their support and partnership in ensuring the successful launch of the project in the state.

Esiet solicited the continued support of all stakeholders for the remaining activities lined up for the project rollout.

Dr Austin Okeji, Director of Public Health, Imo State Ministry of Health, said the Sayana Press roll out would be a month-long project which began last week with consultation meetings with AHI, the Commissioner and Directors in state Ministry of Health.

He said the consultation was followed by microplanning meetings with family planning supervisors in the six selected pilot local government areas of Owerri North, Owerri West, Orlu, Orsu, Obowo and Mbaitoli.

Okeji said the launch was to create awareness about the product and gather imput on the best mechanism for reaching the intended clients as well as build support for its wide distribution in Imo.

He described Sayana Press as a self-injectable, progestin-only contraceptive manufactured by Pfizer Inc. and an all-in-one package that combines the product, needle and syringe dispenser in one prefilled injection system.

According to him, the launch is a major addition to contraceptive options available to women who want to effectively prevent unintended pregnancies, “thus contributing to efforts to reduce the high level of maternal deaths and unsafe abortion.”

Okeji commended the efforts of the major partner and donor, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), for consistently funding the procurement of all family planning commodities and AHI for harmonious working relationship with the ministry of health for the success of the project.

The Programme Officer, Action Health Inc., Funso Bukoye, said that the Nigerian Government in collaboration with its partners and private sectors had pledged to achieve a modern contraceptive rate (mCPR) of 27 per cent among all women by 2020.

She said part of the strategy identified was to improve availability of services and commodities and demand generation activities that would support intervention to improve access to family planning.

Bukoye said it was also to create enabling environment for sexual and reproductive health services across the country.

“Injectable contraceptives are among the world’s most widely used methods for preventing pregnancy, offering women safe and effective protection, convenience and privacy.

“Untill now, access to injectables have been limited to clinic settings, but Sayana Press requires only minimal training, making it especially suitable for community-based distribution,” she said.

Mrs Comfort Mkpat, a Consultant for AHI, explained that Sayana Press is an all-in-one, three month, progestin-only injectable contraceptive product and a lower dose of formulation and presentation of Depo-Provera that conatians 104 mg per 0.65 ml dose of depotmedroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA).

She advised women and those in need of the product to always go to a primary healthcare delivery close to them for examination and collection of the free product.

Mkpat later demostrated the way the product should be adminstered by the woman concerned.

NAN reports that the meeting was attended by representatives of religious and traditional leaders, primary healthcare providers, the media and student nurses.

Edited by Tajudeen Atitebi

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