World Population day is an annual event commemorated on 11th July to raise awareness on global population issues such as the importance of family planning, gender equality, maternal health, human rights and poverty.
The theme of #WPD2017 is ‘Family Planning: Empowering People, Developing Nations.
According to the United Nations, the population of the world hit 7.5 Billion in April 2017 and grows at about 86 million yearly. 225 million women around the world who want to avoid pregnancy do not have access to effective family planning methods. The UN affirms that access to voluntary family planning is a human right which is central to gender equality and women empowerment; a key factor in reducing poverty.
The Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH) implements many projects that provide family planning and child spacing information and services to women in underprivileged communities. ARFH implemented the community component of the ‘Expanded Social Marketing Project in Nigeria’ (ESMPIN) from 2011 to 2017, providing family planning and child survival products through community based distribution agents that sell these subsidized products. ESMPIN was the largest family planning project in Nigeria and it was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
ARFH currently implements two United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) projects in Nigeria, namely C2D4FP – Community Channels for Delivery for Family Planning and INACT – Increasing Access to Contraceptives through Training of CHEWS (Community Health Workers). These projects are structured to contribute to reducing the maternal and infant mortality rate in Nigeria, thus complementing the efforts of the government. ARFH scaled up training of community-based volunteers, patent medicine vendors, market-based health agents, community -beauticians, young peers and community members to deliver family planning information and services to various communities. ARFH’s UNFPA Projects reached 6,000 women in rural communities and IDP camps with family planning information and services.
ARFH, through its Female Condom Advocacy Project, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, in 2017, implemented a project termed ‘Advocacy for Change: Increasing Access to Female Condom Counselling Tools for Health Service Providers in Nigeria’, with funding from Rutgers, Netherlands. ARFH successfully reviewed female condom counselling tools (posters, leaflets and flyers) for use by health workers in counselling clients and will distribute them to all the 774 local governments in Nigeria.
To stress the importance of family planning, the President/CEO of ARFH, Professor Oladapo Ladipo, has severally reiterated that family planning is the easiest way to prevent poverty. “To prevent poverty, plan your family”, he says.
The UN reiterates that ‘investments in making family planning available also yields economic and other gains that can propel development forward’.
The 2017 World Population Day, July 11, coincides with the Family Planning Summit, the second meeting of the Family Planning 2020 initiative, which aims to expand access to voluntary family planning to 120 million additional women by 2020.
In commemoration of the 2017 World Population Day and to address global population issues, ARFH renews its commitments of providing sexual and reproductive health information and services to improve access to family planning, quality maternal and neonatal healthcare, in order to empower women and their families to prevent poverty by planning their families.