Professor Oladapo Alabi, OON, a medical doctor and professor of obstetrics and gynecology, heads the Association for Reproductive and Family Health, an indigenous non-governmental, apolitical organization created to serve the needy, especially those in the rural communities. In this interview with Winifred Ogbebo, he talks on the challenges of funding and problems associated with reproductive health issues.
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Nigeria remains a priority country for most of the international donors, including USAID and DFID, and has benefited from investments made by the Bill & Melinda Gates, David and Lucile Packard and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundations.
Family planning programs have been donor-dependent for years with the Government of Nigeria spending little to nothing on contraceptive procurements. In a promising development, last year the government committed US $3 million for family planning commodities with another US $3 million allocated for FY2012, and has just launched the Saving One Million Lives campaign. The Primary Health Care Free Maternal Health Package includes family planning services and commodities and the National Health Insurance Scheme recently revised its coverage to now include family planning commodities. The Ministry of Health hosted its first ever National Conference on Family Planning in 2010 with a follow-on conference in fall 2012.
At the London Summit on Family Planning, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate, Hon. State Minister of Health, spoke of the importance of Nigeria realizing its demographic dividend potential (Read Nigeria's Announcement at the London Summit on Family Planning). To achieve Nigeria’s goal of a 36% contraceptive prevalence rate by 2018, the government of Nigeria committed an additional US $8,350,000 annually which totals US $33.4 million over the next four years for contraceptive procurement. Recently, the National Council on Health approved a recommendation from the Federal Minister of Health that allows community health extension workers (CHEWs) to provide injectable contraception and encourages the Nigeria state Ministries of Health to scale up this practice. Ongoing advocacy continues amongst a strong coalition of family planning champions who are members of the Reproductive Health Security Stakeholder Committee, the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) (supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), and the Family Planning Action Group (supported by Advance Family Planning and the Health Policy Project of the Futures Group International).