NURHI takes FP message to Shomolu community in Lagos
Amid reports showing that Lagos state has the highest maternal mortality rate in the country, the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI), a project of Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, last week continued its sensitisation campaign in different communities across the state on how to reverse the trend through family planning.
At a Town Hall meeting organised by the organisation at Shomolu Secretariat on Wednesday, members of the community were urged to embrace family planning if they must drastically reduce the high rate of maternal mortality in the community.
Addressing members of the community, which included traditional and religious leaders, elders and youths, Dr. Ajoke Sariyu Ashiru, chairperson of interfaith coalition group of NURHI, said the Town Hall meeting was convened to educate them on the importance of family planning.
According to her, the essence of the meeting was to bring everybody together and let them know about family planning and pass the information to other members of their community so that they can now be accessing the health facilities for family planning thereby reducing the rate of maternal and child mortality.
“What we discover is that Lagos State has the highest maternal mortality rate even higher than that of the Nigerian statistics. They have 555 per 100, 000 live birth. So as a result, NURHI is targeting women in their child bearing age group, that is 15 to 59 and they are now sensitizing them on the importance of family planning.
“The medium they can use is to go through the leaders; the traditional leaders and the religious leaders so that the information they have, they can now pass it down to their members,” she said.
Similarly, Family Planning/RH Manager in Shomolu LGA, Soremekun Olanike, who explained family planning methods to them while speaking to journalists, noted that some of members of the community were hearing about family planning for the first time. She however noted that the uptake of family planning in Shomolu is on the increase.
“I will say it’s on the rise because in my own Primary Health Center (PHC) for example, we usually have in a month, 15 to 16 new clients but now it has risen to 40 to 50. People are coming in because there is more awareness,” Olanike said.
Explaining why eligible people were in the forum, Olanike said most of them have children, sisters and in laws that could need family planning. “After this, they can now go into the community and be a sort of ambassadors for us that’s why we actually have this programme for them,” she said.
Also speaking to journalists, Honorable Oluomo Tunji Ilelaboye, sole administrator, representing Agboyi-Ketu LCDA, Kosofe LGA, said the focus of the meeting was to enlighten the populace both male and female about the need to embrace family planning.
“We have been paying lip service to it. But now, the time has come that we need to go straight and attack it head long and that’s why NURHI is spear-heading it in Nigeria and Lagos State especially.
“NURHI has actually surprised me and they are doing fine in this area and we can see their impact. They don’t only advice, advocate or educate people about it they are investing a lot of money into it.
“So what they have done so far in Lagos State is that they are going round the Lagos State government through the Primary Health Centers because they know this is where people patronize more even than General Hospital. Serious cases go to General Hospital whereas small ones come to PHCs and hardly would you see any local government that don’t have three at least,” Honorable Ilelaboye said.