By Chinenye Offor
The Minister of State for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, on Friday in Abuja said Family Planning (FP) could serve as a positive force to improve national planning and development.
Ehanire said this at the closing ceremony of the 5th Nigeria Family Planning Conference, with a theme ‘Investment, Innovation, Inclusiveness’.
The minister said the conference became imperative in order to convene FP planning stakeholders to discuss and share experiences.
He said it also provided the stakeholders the opportunity to share ideas and innovation, and also serve as a platform in identifying new issues.
“The Federal Government adopted the option of investing in FP, which has been proven to be an investment that is cost effective as well as life saving choice.
“Family planning also contributed to the building of the country’s economic potential and positive step towards building a healthy and happy family.
“The conference was a platform to identify urgent issues towards innovations in planning and child birth spacing towards changing the narratives of the nation’s poor contraceptives,’’ Ehanire said.
The minister said the primary objective of the conference was on the need for the nation to reap demographic dividend.
“He said the present administration had adopted to invest in FP which had proven to be the smartest choice that would help in building a healthier and happy family,’’ said Ehanire.
He said that every responsible country would make provision for its citizens, noting that the conference provided guidance to appropriate investment and innovations such as financing FP services, among others.
Ehanire also noted that the conference focused on three critical groups; the faith based groups, women and youths.
“It did not only help articulate their needs but what each group could do to advance the frontiers of FP strategy.
“Our discussions focused on providing guidance innovation with some of the private sectors.
“Financing FP services in the context of health insurance and innovative financing; Nigeria investment case in maternal mortality, adolescent health and nutrition, and annual population lecture series.
“The role of private sector in expanding FP services in Nigeria; proven innovation in expanding access of FP services and expanding the services and new learning.
“We must galvanise the ideas and learning from the event to reposition, promote and strengthen FP in the country and also provide right investment towards ensuring quality services,’’ Ehanire said.
He commended the AAFP, stakeholders and donor agencies, UNFPA, UNSAID, Bill and Melinda Gates for their continued support and investment in FP.
He therefore assured that the Federal Ministry of Health would continue to collaborate with stakeholders for effective services.