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Expert calls for men’s inclusion in family planning advocacy


Bukola Afeni

The country representative of UNFPA,Dr Diene Keita said there is need for strong inclusion of men in family planning process so as to get the necessary result in the country .
She further reinstates the need to include men as strong agents in the family planning discourse in Nigeria .
Dr Keita made the disclosure at the Nigerian health watch forum 2018 ,with the theme ,”The elephant in the room ,men as change agents in the family planning discourse .
She disclosed that Nigeria has contributed to 40% of the global burden of maternal death .
“We need to reduce the high level of maternal mortality in the country ,as everyday 110 women dies while giving birth .We will,ensure that every pregnancy is wanted ,and every potential of each child is being fulfilled ”
The country representative of UNFPA also emphasized on the need to educate the men folk about family planning ,and not leave only the women to take important decisions regarding the reproductive health issues in the family ”
“We need to sensitize our men ,and educate them on the importance of family planning ,so they can be able to have children that they can easily manage ,based on the economic situation of the country at the moment ”
In the same vein ,she charged stakeholders in the health sector to reach out to men residing in the rural areas ,as a large percentage of them do not have the necessary information about family planning issues .
Speaking further ,Dr Keita said family planning is all about education ,and we need innovative strategy like “the school of husband “for engaging men about conversations on family planning .
“We need to put in place several innovations that will engage men in conversations about maternal health conversations .Family planning is about women’s reproductive health care ,and sexual relations ,and the men need to be fully involved ”

The country director of Marie stopes ,Dr Effiom Effiom explained that strategic interventions have not been put in place to promote men’s participation in family planning issues
“We should start seeing men as advocates for family planning ,and see how they can play a Greater role in this regard ,and we have to be consistent to get a visible result ”
According to him ,stakeholders in the health sector should start seeing family planning as a health issue ,and see it as a means of increasing economic power in the society .
“It will serve as a means of promoting gender balance ,improve on sexual and reproductive health ,and also reduce maternal mortality rate in the country.
Dr Effiom further stressed the need for strong inclusion of men in family planning services .
“Men’s involvement in this process is very critical ,as it will help in national development ,as the male folk from developing countries do not like discussing about some of the issues ”
“Couples that normally discuss about family planning ,will most likely use the family planning procedures ,so it often advised to communicate about the process ”
The country representative of Marie stopes, also recommends that family planning training should be extended to men’s association and group where they have a large number of male folk as members.
“It has to be discussed in the public sphere ,so that all men will know that the issue really affects them ,and not think that it is the women’s handwork alone ”
“If men are being taught the basic rudiments of family planning ,they will respond better ,and the whole family will be at Peace”
While speaking ,Hajia Sa’adatu Hashim,the head of FOMWAN Kano chapter ,said there is need for advocacy to educate men in the rural communities to have the number of children they can adequately cater for in the Homefront .
“We need community mobilizers to go out and tell the men about the health implications of having many children ,and also the need to reduce the number of wives ”
The FOMWAN official also spoke on the need for men in the northern part of the country to deviate from having large number of children as the economic situation on ground do not provide for such luxury .
According to her ,the men folk need to be educated not to see family planning as child spacing alone ,but having manageable children that can meet their basic needs.
A family planning advocate ,Dr Laz Ude Eze is calling on each states government to have strategic action plan on family planning ,and not wait on the federal government to meet all the basic health care needs in terms of reproductive health .
He further spoke on the need to capture the boys in secondary school and train them on the importance of family planning right from when they are young ,as many of them are sexually active .
“We need to catch them while they are young ,so they can have the right orientation about family planning ,as they will turn out to be fathers and husbands in years to come ”
Dr Eze also advised school administrators and religious leaders to create health clubs and associations to sensitize young boys right from teenage years about family planning .
“If will surely get the young boys ,then we will surely have a better future ,as they are adequately informed to make right decisions ”





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