Family planning: Stakeholders tasked on priority, synergy and implementation
By Obianuju Azukaego
Anambra State Government has been called to synergize with the Civil Society Organizations, the media and good spirited individuals to ensure that women of reproductive age have full access to family planning.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, National Light Newspapers, Sir Chuka Nnabuife made this call at the Anambra State Media Roundtable on Family Planning entitled “Improving Family Planning Services among Women of Reproductive Age in Anambra State” held in Awka, the capital city of the state.
Sir Nnabuife at the stakeholders roundtable organized by The Challenge Initiative (TCI) said that the government should create an enabling environment through which the healthcare centres and hospitals in the state will offer effective family planning approach by providing necessary logistics required.
The National Light MD added that the media have been chosen to play a leading role in family planning awareness while calling on them to strategize on the best way to make proper findings and communications to enhance family planning in the state.
In his contribution, the Chairman, Civil Society Network, Prince Chris Azor called for a sustainable collaboration between the government and private sectors as well as philanthropists to ensure that family planning is within the reach of every average woman of child-bearing age in the state.
Prince Azor stated that to achieve a result oriented family planning in the state, there should be partnership with the Civil Society Organizations to achieve family planning goals.
Also in her paper presentation, the State Family Planning Coordinator, Mrs. Chioma Okedo themed “Issues affecting Family Planning Budgetary releases”, identified inadequate budgetary release for family planning activities as one of the challenges of family planning in the state.
Mrs. Okedo also said that staff attrition after training the health providers amongst other challenges are resisting full access to family planning.
Mrs. Ify Unachukwu of Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) who spoke on “Dealing with the challenge of Family Planning Service charge said that service charges attached to family planning has been the major impediment to effective family planning accessibility in the state.
Mrs. Unachukwu suggested that family planning service charges should be lifted as family planning is a one shop solution to reducing maternal death, infant mortality and as well help to achieve child-spacing.
Dr. Chioma Ezenyimulu who is the Executive Secretary, Anambra State Health Care Development Agency commended the state government led by Dr. Willie Obiano for living up to expectation in releasing funds for polio and immunizations in the state.
Mrs. Ezenyimulu said there was the need for state government to employ more health workers to replace those that are retired.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Vincent Okpala represented by the Director, Public Health, Dr. Uchechukwu Onyejimbe said that the facilities are given money as a revolving funds to administer family planning free in the state while stating that no service charge should be given to those that are accessing family planning.
He, however, said that the facilities who collect charges for family planning would be sanctioned as provision of state government’s health care facilities was still valid.
The commissioner noted that there was a room for Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) and individuals to partner the ministry in family planning.
He urged those interested to come to the ministry to sign the memorandum of Operation (MOU).
Also the TCI representative, Mr. Aneotah Egbe said that the media roundtable was to assess efforts made so far by media practitioners and Information Officers on challenges facing proper family planning administration in the state and the way forward.
He said the ball was on the court of the stakeholders to use pragmatic approach to achieve a desired result.
The Media Focal Person, Family Planning, Mrs. Franca Madike and other media personnel at the meeting reiterated the commitment of the Media Action Committee on Family Planning to complement the efforts of TCI and DEVCOMS to achieve total embrace of family planning in the state.