By Danjuma Wakili

As the world celebrates ‘World Population Day’, Niger State Government has been called upon to show more commitment in funds provision so that the people get access to timely healthcare information and family planning services.

The Niger State Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Scale (Niger PAS Partners) made the call at a press conference held in collaboration with the Niger State Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA) in Minna, Friday.

The project director of the advocacy group, Dr. Aliyu Yabagi Shehu during the press conference said that for the state to get positive health indicators there was the need that it does more for the population in the area of increased funding and access to family planning services and reducing inequalities in the health delivery system.

Dr. Shehu said that the state government between 2015 to 2019 allocated about N210m for family planning, adding that only N10m has been accessed.

He urged the Niger State House of Assembly to legislate and make policies that will strengthen the state’s health system and improve reproductive health education which respects gender rights access to reproductive healthcare services for rural communities.

“All stakeholders’ media, religious groups, traditional leaders CSOs are encouraged to be the voice in ensuring that universal access to healthcare is available for young women and investment in contraceptives and unmet needs for family planning are available,” he said.

He added that if the state Costed Implementation Plan (CIP)  is implemented it will avert 250, 000 unintended pregnancy, 90, 000 abortions, 2,500 maternal deaths within 2018 – 2020, adding that it will create demographic dividends that will lead to economic growth and breakout from the cycle of poverty.

The project director said that with the alarming rate of population growth, with Nigeria expected to increase to 410 million, making it the fourth most populous country in the world, measures needed to be taken to ensure population management.

“With this population, Nigeria is required to therefore take measures to ensure population management that will spur this trajectory into attaining demographic dividends”, he added.

According to him, the annual event is adopted to celebrate efforts, reinforce achievements, mobilize resources and generate political will of government towards addressing challenges associated with population explosion.