In late April, after eight years of advocacy efforts by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP), the House Assembly of Oyo State – one of the largest in Nigeria – passed a bill requiring the state to sustainably fund family planning efforts there. CCP is based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The victory was hailed by officials working for CCP’s Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI), a project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve uptake of modern contraception methods in the nation. Nigeria is the largest country in Africa by population, with low contraceptive use rates and high maternal, newborn and child mortality rates.
The NURHI team was also working with local governments to convince them to set aside money for family planning on the local level. Fifteen local governments set aside nearly 15 million naira (about $41,000 U.S. dollars) for family planning.
Family planning funding is used to train nurses, doctors and other health workers on how to counsel patients effectively and how to use certain contraceptives. It goes to promote access to a wide range of contraceptives including long-acting reversible contraception such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and injectables and to procure the supplies and other needed equipment. It goes to support communication efforts that generate demand for family planning services.
In the five years NURHI has been active in Oyo State, the percentage of women of childbearing age using modern contraception went from 24 percent to 44.5 percent. A new goal will be up to 65 percent.Friday Letter Submission