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Nigeria may record 700,000 unwanted pregnancies in 2023 — UNDP

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Nigeria may record 700,000 unwanted pregnancies in 2023 — UNDP

 

The challenge of funding family planning in the country may lead to increasing unwanted pregnancies and abortions, according to the United Nations Population Fund. FastNews reports.

It made the statement at an event to mark the 2023 World Population Day organised by the National Population Commission in Abuja on Tuesday.

During a panel discussion titled ‘Dialogue on financing and investment in family planning: meeting the growing demand of Nigerian women’, Technical Specialist, Maternal & Reproductive Health”, UNFPA, Dr. Adeela Khan, said that the funding gap for family planning was widening, increasing from $25m in last year to $32m in 2023.

According to her, this funding gap would lead to 700,000 unintended pregnancies, which would further lead to 300,000 unplanned births and 300,000 unsafe abortions.

She said, “Family planning programme is largely dependent on funding, and that is dwindling funding. As far as 2022, there was a gap of $25m.

“This year, we are looking at a gap of $32m. What is very important about this gap is that if you are casting it, there will be 700,000 unintended pregnancies, which will result in approximately 300,000 unplanned births and 300,000 unsafe abortions.”

Khan, however, noted that the government had been making some efforts through policies, such as the National Policy for Population and Sustainable Development in 2022, and financial commitment to ensuring family planning.

Also speaking a public health practitioner, Dr. Gafar Alawode, said that the rising population in the country was alarming.

He added that the population was growing faster than the economy, which was detrimental.

The UNFPA Executive-Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem, who was represented by UNFPA Nigeria Acting Resident Representative, Ms. Erika Goldson, noted that 19 per cent of married women in Nigeria could not exercise their right to make decisions, especially regarding having children.

She further stressed the need for women to be empowered, adding that such empowerment would benefit human capital and inclusive economic growth.

She said, “Realising sexual and reproductive health and rights for all is the foundation for gender equality, dignity, and opportunity. Nevertheless, over 40 per cent of women around the world and 19 per cent of married women in Nigeria cannot exercise their right to make decisions as fundamental as whether or not to have children”.

In her remark at the event, the Special Adviser on Health to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Dr. Salma Anas, acknowledged the implications of the country’s population growth.

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