MEDIA ADVOCACY ON FAMILY PLANNING FOR MEDIA PERSONNEL, SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS AND MDAs OFFICIALS IN PORT HARCOURT, RIVERS STATE, NIGERIA.

Mr. Onche Odeh Facilitating

Published by Smith Nwokocha

It was a power-packed three days solid training on Family Planning, held at LandMark Hotel, Port Harcourt on the 23rd, 24th and 25th November, 2020.

The Challenge Initiatives aims to increased capability of Governments to implement effective Family Planning Programmes, especially among the Urban poor. TCI is a platform not a project. TCI is State-led. Finally, TCI provide technical support, drives ownership and participation, promotes resource sustainability and facilitate sharing and learning for scale up among others. Mrs. Uduak Ananaba

Some Experts shared insights on Family Planning or Child-Birth Spacing as the case maybe; Terminologies in Maternal Health, Family Planning and Adolescent Reproductive Health, also Myths and Misconceptions about Family Planning.. This session was anchored by the Family Planning State Coordinator- Igbanibo Doris (RSMOH) and Theresa Timothy (RSPHCMB).

At the end of the day, we discovered, that; Family Planning or Child-Birth Spacing (For the married) or Life Planning (For Singles) could solve the problem of “Domestic Violence in Nigeria”. In fact, “Low absence of Family Planning is responsible for high mortality rate in pregnant women and FP (Family Planning) can actually help Nigeria reduce this high mortality rate.

FP starts with counselling. We need to consistently engage Religious/Traditional rulers and Policy makers on issues related to FP. We also need to know, that Family Planning is different from Infertility.

A typical African Family talks about WAR CANOE HOUSE (Large family size), but the interesting thing is this; WHAT IS FAMILY PLANNING? According to Dr. Doris N:  Family Planning is simply; “having the number of children you can cater for. It includes making decision about birth control, reproduction and about deciding how to care for the child and emotional well-being of everyone in the family”. The implication/consequences on the Family/Society, include but not limited to the following; Unplanned/Unintended Pregnancy, Increase dependency, Insecurity, School drop-outs, Unemployment, High Maternal Mortality, Unsafe Abortion among others. Part of the solutions are; improved Healthcare and Environmental Hygiene, Abolish obnoxious practices in the communities and organize regular Family Planning education and promotes its benefits.

Mrs. Uduak Anababa sharing some insights on TCI

Family Planning in Nigeria, Trends, Practices, Attitudes and Barriers ; a session facilitated by Mr. Onche Odeh of Development Communications Network; He also mentioned “Demographic Dividend”, which refers to the growth in an economy due to a change in the age structure of a country’s population. Thailand was sighted an example. He emphasized; Family Planning as a Tool for Sustainable Development. FP is tied to SDG 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11 and 17. For SDG 1; “if we do more Family Planning, we will have less hands to feed with quality populace”. For SDG 6 and 8; FP mitigates population growth’s effects on access to Water and Sanitation.

For Media Practitioners, Mr. Onche, he advised that; “Writing a Compelling Human Angle Stories on Family Planning”, they should ensure that their stories are people/issue based, make the story simple and keep the story to one idea. Life experiences are key and introduce innovative angles to family planning. Social Media Strategic Approach in Promoting Family Planning among other relevant topic of discuss.

From left-FP Focal Person-Rumueme Health Centre- at the middle, Miss Favour FP Client and some Media Personnel during an interview session

On the Day Two; participants alongside the organizers embarked on a field trip, visited some of the Health Facilities, including TCI Supported Facility in the city of Port Harcourt. At one of the Health Facility (Rumueme Health Centre), we met some newly mothers, women that came for family planning, with the consent of a young girl named Miss Favour, aged 20, in her interaction with some of the Media personnel’s, she said, her senior sister told her of how Life Planning will help her avoid early pregnancy, so she came for enquiry, before adopting FP. In her words; “Family Planning will help her stay away from unwanted pregnancy; she wants a great future”.  The Focal Person at Rumueme Health Centre (Tonagbari Gokana), mentioned that married men visit the facility with their wives and all the equipments for all Family Planning methods are available at the facility. Dr. Chisa Nweke, a medical doctor at the facility, said, “though Society is judgmental and filled with stigmatization with issues concerning family planning, but there has been some level of progress”. At the Orogbum Health Centre, which is a TCI supported facility; a grandmother, Women Community leader (Mrs. Onyemachi Grace Ogoloma), a Family Planning client, said, she has introduced my House help, her daughters, they all enjoy the benefits of Family Planning.

Orogbum Health Centre (TCI Health Facility)

On the Day Three: Introduction To Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) and Get It Together (Life Planning For Adolescent and Youths-LPAY-) facilitated by Oluchi Bassey: She emphasized that, LPAY focuses on increased demand for reproductive health knowledge and services. It equally helps young people understand how their bodies work and equip them with information and skills to make informed decisions about their reproductive health.

Media Involvement in Reducing Maternal Mortality and Family Planning, this session was facilitated by Onche Odeh; he said, “The Media is very critical to the success of Family Planning Initiatives”. Major concerns; there is a dangerous link between overpopulation and poverty. Research has linked high maternal mortality rate to lack of Family Planning in many cases. Pressing needs; The Policy makers need to be educated on the stack realities on ground. Some of the benefits of FP; FP services can avert high risk pregnancies, it can reduce maternal mortality rate, ‘When the woman is well, the family is well”, the nation can grow population in a controlled pace.

Group presentation during training session

Finally, the session on Policy Environment For Family Planning in Nigeria was facilitated by Uduak Ananaba.

SOME FACTS ABOUTS FP:

Family Planning is an advisory service that aids Birth-Control.

FP plays a huge role in reducing Child and maternal mortality.

Abstinence is also and the best method of Family Planning. It was a mind-blowing session and certificates of participation were awarded to attendees!

Dr. Chisa Nweke at Rumueme Health Centre
Award of Certificate of Participation

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