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Buhari advocates family planning, birth control

President Muhammadu Buhari has launched the Revised National Policy on Population for Sustainable Development.

At the event which held today, the President stressed the need for urgent measures to address Nigeria’s high fertility rate through expanding access to modern contraceptive methods as well as the promotion of birth spacing across the country.

In a statement released by the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, President Buhari also inaugurated the National Council on Population Management (NCPM), which he chairs, and the Vice President as deputy chairman with heads of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as members.

”This will enable Nigeria to achieve rapid fertility control, improve the health of women, adolescents, new born and children, and other population groups,’’ he said.

President Buhari noted that Nigeria’s population, which is the largest in Africa, 7th globally and among the few whose fertility is still growing, is hinged on a youthful population, with more than 72% below 30 years while half of the female population are in their reproductive years (15-49 years).

”These levels have implications for sustained population growth and narrowed prospects to achieving population management, facilitating sufficient demographic transition, harnessing our demographic endowment and eventually realising sustainable development,’’ he said.

President Buhari flanked by top government officials, holds a copy of the Revised National Policy on Population for Sustainable Development.

On other highlights of the revised population policy, the President explained that it underscores the importance of investing in quality education of young people (particularly girls), human capital development, advancing holistic effort to achieve significant demographic transition.

Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC), Nasir Isa Kwarra urged Nigerians to embrace the noble ideals of Planned Parenthood and healthy reproductive behaviours enunciated in the policy.

Enumerating some salient issues in relation to the population policy, Kwarra noted that the review policy is the product of extensive consultations and nationwide engagements with key stakeholders and interest groups.

On the NCPM, the NPC Chairman said the body is key in the implementation of the revised Policy, saying ”in addition to providing strategic direction in the implementation process, the Council will hopefully advocate for and support the conduct of the population and housing census, thus providing accurate and up-to-date data to guide the implementation of the Policy.”

UN Resident Coordinator, Nigeria, Matthias Schmale notes that the policy brings to the forefront the linkages between population and development and will inform work and services to improve the well-being and lives of Nigerians as it comes on the heels of the recently launched 2021-2025 National Development Plan focusing on making Nigeria the greatest economy in Africa.

”The successful implementation of the National Policy will very likely have positive implications for maternal health development, youth and adolescent rights and the empowerment of women and the girl child,” the top UN official in Nigeria said.

Commending the Nigerian government for launching the policy, Schmale said the world and UN look forward to a Nigeria with low maternal mortality; low teenage pregnancy and childbirth; reduced fertility rate, increased utilisation of modern contraceptive methods and high education attainment, among others.

Editing by Muzha Kucha