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Self-care will empower Nigerians to carry out effective health actions-Experts

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By Victoria Onehi

The Country Coordinator and Technical Advisor, John Snow Incorporated  Dr Adewole Adefalu, said the dwindling health investments and competing public health cost makes self-care the solution for the future in Nigeria and many African countries.

Adefalu was speaking at the launch of Community Oriented DMPA-SC/Self Injection Acceleration in Nigeria (CODSAiN) and Self-Care Accelerator Project (S-CAP) held in Abuja on Tuesday.

He said the .scale-up and use of self-care interventions as outlined in the National Guideline on Self-Care for Sexual, Reproductive and Maternal Health has the potential to boost Nigeria’s modern contraceptive prevalence rate, result in cost-savings and accelerate progress towards achieving universal health coverage.

“Self-care offers a paradigm shift, empowering individuals and communities and saving the bludgeoning healthcare cost.

Self-care will empower women and men, families, and communities to carry out effective health actions, with or without support from health care providers.”He explains.

Adefalu said John Snow Incorporated (JSI) willl through the Bill and Melinda Gates funded grant,work with the government to lead the coordination of the scale up of self-care in Nigeria. 

” Our role is to support the government at all levels to unlock all policy bottlenecks to full scale up interventions with the self-care product portfolio, lead stakeholder coordination and provide technical assistance to all ongoing efforts to fully integrate this innovation into the sexual reproductive and maternal health systems in Nigeria.” Adefalu explains.

Speaking on the Community-Oriented DMPA-SC/Self-Injection Acceleration in Nigeria (CODSAiN) Project  launched alongside S-CAP, Chief Executive Officer Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH) Dr Kehinde Osinowo, said  the association has reached one million Nigerian women with family planning methods DMPA-SC & Self-injection.

She said the Nigeria Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) 2018, shows that Nigeria’s modern contraceptive prevalence rate (mCPR) is 12%, requiring concerted efforts to increase the CPR to 27%.

” In line with Nigeria FP 2030 agenda, ARFH in a bid to support the government to scale up family planning uptake introduced and implemented the Resilient Accelerated Scale-up of DMPA-SC Self-Injection in Nigeria (RASuDiN) project.The project which was implemented from 2018 to 2022 in ten states (Anambra, Delta, Enugu, Kwara, Lagos, Niger, Ogun, Oyo, Plateau, and Rivers)  recorded huge success as it surpassed the project targets. “

“In view of the achievement recorded on the project, the Federal Ministry of Health approved the extension of the innovation to four (4) new additional states (Gombe, Kano, Nasarawa, and Yobe. The new project is titled Community Oriented DMPA-SC/Self Injection Acceleration in Nigeria (CODSAiN).” She said.

The Director, Reproductive Health  at the Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs Tinu Taylor said the RASuDin project being implemented in 10 states of Nigeria shows significant potential for heterogeneity of Family Planning services delivery in Nigeria.

“With their known and verified antecedent,we believe that the partners could successfully copy this model to bring reproductive health and Family Planning service delivery and use to high levels in the remaining states and Federal Capital Authority.” Taylor said.

On his part  Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology Prof Oladapo Ladipo, said experts need  to increase advocacy efforts to ensure that the government increases funding for family planning. 

” My recommendation for funding for family planning is that $4m should be increased to $50m because it is for about 50 million women of reproductive age. $1 per woman is not too much.

“Maternal death is still very high in Nigeria despite the safe motherhood programmes that have been initiated over the years. It’s a shame that we are still having three digits, roughly 512 per 100,000 deliveries, which is very shameful in 2023. Yet, family planning can help us to reduce that within a short period. This is why every woman must plan a family. The days when you will receive a cow for having 10 children are gone.”Ladipo stated.

 He said self-care is the buzz word and women should take advantage of it in the area of their reproductive health and more.

John Snow Incorporated (JSI) is implementing the Self-Care Accelerator Project (S-CAP) funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

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