Integrate family planning into COVID19 sensitization, control efforts- Expert advises govt

Federal and State Government should make family planning an integral part of COVID19 sensitization, to help minimize the negative post-pandemic economic effects.

Economists have predicted very negative fortunes for the global economy as the lockdown initiated to check the spread of the virus, has crippled many economies especially the mono-product ones like Nigeria.

Since the lockdown, statistics has been a spate in the incidence of pregnancies, as couples are confined to their homes.

This development, if unchecked, may worsen the threat of population explosion which Nigeria is already facing, the Anambra State Coordinator, Family Planning, Barr. Stella Ekweozor said.

According to Ekweozor, the uncontrolled increase in the size of families will, in turn, leave them with very little chances of surviving the imminent economic recession post-COVID 19.

“Coronavirus has so many problems it brought and the family is seriously affected. Because the couple is glued to their homes with no opportunity to attend to many other aspects of their lives due to the lockdown, the chances are that more pregnancies will occur than usual. Already, most of these families are battling to survive due to the harsh economic condition in the country and when there are unplanned additions in terms of humans, it will break their capacity to thrive,” she observed.

Ekweozor said Nigeria with its present human growth rate, is already headed towards population crisis, as the second-most populous country in Africa.

What the nation cannot afford, she maintained, is an additional increase in human growth as that intensify poverty and hunger, drive spate in crime rate and massive unemployment.

“Due to poor resources and income, unintended and unwanted pregnancies are anticipated that may lead to an increase in child and maternal mortality. Malnutrition, high risk of infection, high incidence of rape and sexual assaults, increase in home-based violence will also occur as a result of frustration.

“This is why family planning is very important at this time and as the government goes on COVID19 sensitization, they should also focus on educating families on birth control and planning measures. This will ensure that we do not have two problems in our hands when this pandemic abates,” Ekweozor advised.

She, however, regretted that myths, misconceptions and rumours on the social media concerning family planning methods as well as the lockdown has made it difficult for the people to access their family planning services.
She, therefore, urged that family planning services be made mobile just as government distributes palliatives to the citizens.

“Family planning has the key to many social vices witnessed in our society today. A family that is planned is a healthy family and a wealthy family also. Planning the family affords parents the resources to give the best training both in time, education and morality to their children. On the other hand, when parents do not have the resources to train their children, it may expose them to many vices. The government should take this issue seriously because if not properly handled, it can also have a negative bearing on its efforts at development,” Ekweozor concluded.

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