Population growth and family planning
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By Hamzat Ibrahim Abaga
The surge in population in the country has raised concerns and the need for control. One of the ways to achieve this is effective family planning. However, many families are afraid of family planning. Yet, family planning goes a long way in helping both the family and society at large.
Studies have shown that women who have more than four children are at an increased risk of maternal mortality.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has defined family planning as “allows individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births. It is achieved through use of contraceptive methods and the treatment of involuntary infertility. A woman’s ability to space and limit her pregnancies has a direct impact on her health and well-being as well as on the outcome of each pregnancy”.
Family planning can be seen as a process whereby a woman plans and decides when to bear a child with the consent of her husband.
Family planning permits pregnancies to be spaced. It can also prevent health risks and problems of death from early childbearing. It prevents unintended pregnancies, including those of older women who are done with child bearing.
In addition, family planning decreases the danger of unplanned pregnancies among women living with HIV. This will lead to fewer infected babies and orphans.
Young women who become pregnant by mistake drop out of school, lose job prospects, and can be compelled into teenage marriages. Thousands more die each year as they attempt to hide their disgrace by seeking unsafe abortions. Left and right, futures are stolen by the burden of teenage pregnancy.
Recently, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said the country must take urgent steps to avoid a ‘time bomb scenario’ of unchecked population growth, highlighting the low rates of contraceptive use. But we need to be doing more to address the unique needs of youth. Unplanned pregnancies among young people undermine opportunities for education and employment, exacerbate poverty and perpetuate gender inequities. For the sake of Nigeria’s future, this needs to change.
Over 900,000 teenagers give birth in Nigeria each year, the highest rate in sub-Saharan Africa. Imagine what our communities and our economy would look like if they had the chance to finish school and join the workforce instead?
We need to give our young women the chance to choose to have smaller families, later in life that they are better able to support. We need to give them a chance to contribute to the social and economic development of our country.
- Abaga is a 400-Level Mass Communication student of Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai (IBBUL).