7 Million Unwanted Pregnancies May Occur if COVID-19 Persists- UNFPA

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  • 47 Million Women May Lose Access to Contraceptives

If the COVID-19 pandemic continues for another six months, it is most likely that about 47 million women would lack access to modern contraceptives, which could lead to seven million unintended  pregnancies, the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, has estimated.

The Reproductive Health Division of the Federal Ministry of Health, FMoH, also affirmed the likelihood of the development in Nigeria, as Reproductive Health and Family Planning, RH/FP services were interrupted at the tertiary, secondary and primary health facilities due to restrictions of movement to contain the spread of COVID-19, which led to commodities stock-out.

7 Million Unwanted Pregnancies May Occur if COVID-19 Persists- UNFPA
Consumption rate of RH and FP commodities by FMoH

Speaking on the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on response on provision of RH/FP services in Nigeria, Director/Head RH, Federal Ministry of Health, FMoH, Dr Kayode Afolabi, noted that there was an initial lack of RH and FP guidelines /protocols to be followed in offering services during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has negatively impacted the provision RH and FP services in most states of the federation.

Still corroborating the possibility of the UNFPA projections in the country, Afolabi revealed that there was a sharp decline in the uptake of injectables, implants and IUDs in April 2020, compared to the upward trajectory consumption in January, with significant reduction in the number of Family Planning trainings conducted in 2020 put at 16, as against the huge figure of 86 trainings done in 2019.

7 Million Unwanted Pregnancies May Occur if COVID-19 Persists- UNFPA
Consumption rate of RH and FP commodities by FMoH

He said: “Consumption of key commodities which were on an upward trajectory in January 2020 are seen to have decreased significantly by April 2020, while for the period January to April, there was a 5.5 fold decrease in the number of trainings conducted and uploaded to the National FP dashboard. In 2019, over 4300 providers received in-service FP trainings compares to the 303 in 2020”.

Afolabi, who spoke during a webinar on Saturday, organised by Marie Stopes Nigeria, in collaboration with Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria, admitted that there was surge in sexual activities during the COVID-19 lockdown, but the FMoH is strengthening community based family planning programme to ensure that family planning clients receive services and commodities including in humanitarian settings.

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According to him:“The Family Planning Department has secured approval of the Health Minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire to communicate to states to sustain information and services on RH and FP as essential services during COVID -19 pandemic”.

In his presentation, Country Director, Marie Stopes Nigera, MSION, Effiom N Effiom, disclosed progress path of the organisation even in the pandemic as they were able to make significant improvement in the provision of their services to clients during the period.

He disclosed how they were able to prevent 793, 601 unintended pregnancies, averted 3,968 estimated maternal deaths, prevented 279,538 estimated unsafe abortions, averted 19,781 estimated child deaths, and granted access to 772,628 persons across Nigeria to one of their FP methods through their service delivery channels.

Effiom said:”Despite the lockdown and movement restrictions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, MSION continues to provide essential sexual reproductive health services, while reporting rates have remained stable, comparable between the periods”.

 

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