Thoughts on World Contraception Day - DKT International Nigeria

As we marked the World Contraception Day this year, it would be appropriate to see where Nigeria stands with its family planning and population growth. Nigeria is projected to have population of 429 million in 32 years’ time. And this is a spectacular increase from its current 190 million population. This means that Nigeria will more than double its size by 2050. Recent reports have also indicated that Nigeria has become the new ‘poverty capital of the world’ with 87 million people currently living in extreme poverty. It is obvious that this number is expected to grow and surpass 150 million by 2050. As Goalkeepers report (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) states; “by 2050, more than 40 percent of the extremely poor people in the world will live in just two countries: Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.” Rapid population growth and extreme poverty are closely related and inevitably, both are growing hand in hand. A noticeable example of a country that has succeeded with its family planning programs is Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) grew from 4.8% in 1990 to 44% in 2017. In order to achieve this, the Ethiopian government placed family planning at the top of its agenda, formulated developmental policies, paid increasing attention to demographic factors and recognized ‘unconstrained’ population growth as one of the major challenges to poverty reduction. Since the mid-1990s, the Ethiopian government has upgraded its policy environment and executed friendly policies that improved family planning programs implementation, supply chain and overall contraceptive accessibility and availability. The government of Ethiopia waived import taxes on contraceptives and liberalized the regulatory laws on emergency contraceptives and oral contraceptives pills. This ensured that contraceptive methods such as emergency contraceptives and oral contraceptive pills became over-the-counter (OTC) medicines allowing ease of access and mass media advertising to increase brand awareness both in urban and rural communities.

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Dimos Sakellaridis is the Country Director for DKT Nigeria This article was published in Guardian newspaper

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