An expert in Reproductive Health, Dr Mercy Panyi, has said that low uptake of family planning is a major factor for Nigeria’s population growth with attendant negative influences on quality of life of the people and socio-economic gains for the country.
Panyi, Head, Reproductive Health Division of Federal Ministry of Health, stated this in Lagos on Tuesday.
Despite the fact that Nigerian women are aware of family planning, the adoption of family planning practices remains low in the country.
Panyi said Nigeria’s population was approximately 2.55 per cent of the total world population of 7.6 billion, and ranks number seven in the list of countries and dependencies by population.
Panyi said that the Nigerian environment, its natural resources, economy and facilities were fast being degraded and consumed as a result of human population increase.
Some of the unavoidable consequences of continuous growth in population include congestion, environmental pollution, high unemployment rate, degradation, depletion of vital resources and weather modification.
”Also, unhygienic living conditions, elevated crime rate, conflicts, political instability, scarce resources, hunger and high rates of disease spread are other problems associated with over-population.
In the past four decades, Nigeria has made very bold efforts to achieve rapid economic development, but rapid population growth has affected the quality of life and made achievement of socio-economic development goals difficult.
Nigeria strives for a productive agricultural sector and wants to conserve natural resources for sustainable development.
In the agricultural sector, as in other sectors, lower fertility yields benefits for Nigeria. At the current rate of population increase, will the country be able to feed the number of people it has?
In the education sector, if Nigeria continues on its current path of high fertility, the number of students that will enter primary schools will increase — more than double by 2040.
How shall the nation take care of these students? If the country takes the path of low fertility, the nation has fewer students, there will be less pressure to build new schools.
Talking about health. In Nigeria, more than six in 10 births fall in at least one of the high risk categories. This means that more than half the children born have an elevated risk of dying before their 5th birthday.
If we can adopt family planning, fertility rate will decline and this will help many families out of poverty. There will be fewer mouths to feed and free more money to educate or help each child, ” she said.
The expert opined that family planning provided Panyi opportunities for families families to space births, control population and see to the improved health of the mother, child, father, family and the nation at large.
”With family planning, integrated population, health and environment projects can expand, thereby giving opportunities to expand access to clean and renewable energy.
Family planning contributes to building safe, resilient infrastructure and sustainable cities, ” she said.