The federal government has approved the sum of $11.5million for the procurement of family planning commodities such as condoms and contraceptives.

The Director of Family Health in the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Bridget Okoeguale, stated this  during the 47th National Council Meeting of the Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria, where Mr. Oladele Olaniyi succeeded Mrs. Lami Buba as President.

According to her, “last year, in order to reduce maternal mortality rate, the government proclaimed that reproductive health commodities and family planning commodities like condoms and implants to be made free.”

“So the government along with the partners made a forecast as to what we need in the country and contributed $3million in 2011 through a Memorandum of Understanding which we implemented.”

On July 11 in London, there was a family planning summit organized by DFID and other partners to increase the commitment of governments all over the world to family planning.

“Nigeria came in a big way and Mr. President, through the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Muhammad Pate, announced the government’s commitment to the world with additional $8.3m reproductive health commodities.”

Dr Bridget added that maternal mortality has reduced in Nigeria, right now I can’t really say the rate until we do the National Demographic Health Survey next year”, adding that “the Federal Government is also committed to reducing maternal mortality rate in the country.”

545 deaths per 100,000 births

Decrying the current mortality rate in the country, Dr Okoeguale stated that,“for now, our maternal mortality rate is 545 per 100,000 live births and you will agree with me that it is very high and nothing to be proud of.”

She further explained that the federal government is collaborating with international agencies such as UNFPA, DFID, USIS, USAID and “we are appealing to states for support because health is on the concurrent list.”

“The Federal Government has a plan and policy but we cannot force states to key in. We can only advocate for them; they make requests to us as regards what they need but it is for them to ensure that these commodities reach the grass roots.”

She also revealed that “some states do not have budget line for family planning because of other priorities. I don’t have the statistics but I do know that some states have not been able to create a budget line for family planning and we are calling on them to do.”