Aliyu Jibril Guraguri
In Nigeria only 10% of women of reproductive age access contraceptives. In some of the northern states where I came from the CPR was as low as 1.9%. maternal and child mortality remained terribly high as 1 out of 13 children die before their first birthday, and 1 out of every 183 pregnant woman die as a result of child birth. these figures were unacceptable and Nigerians felt that we needed to do something. I was among them. First, I started as a community volunteer before finally joining the ESMPIN project at Society for Family Health. I served in Sokoto and Kebbi states a program Officer where I train and deploy IPC conductors, currently, I Manage the CBD component of ESMPIN project and the project has achieved 75% of its CYP target saving millions of lives. Im proud to be part of it.
As the most populous country in Afrcia, Nigeria's CPR was only 10% by 2008. Maternal and child mortality was high especially in Northern part where iliteracy level is high. In some of the states the CPR was as low as 2.1% necessitating an urgent action to address the scourge. USAID's ESMPIN project offered to increase access to FP products & services in Nigeria by generating 15million CYP by 2016. Being the largest FP project funded by USAID, I wanted to be part of this mystery called ESMPIN.
After commencement of ESMPIN Project, demand was low, in order to address this, a regional conference on child spacing was conevened with high ranking traditional and religious leaders under the leadership of the Sultan of Sokoto. It turn out to be a turning point for the performance of ESMPIN project. The conference gave opportunity for discussions & increased support from community and religious leaders who spoke from different perspective to strengthen positive religious views on FP.
The major challenge of FP in Nigeria is lack of Government committment. Government needs to increase its budgetary provision for family planning. A strong advocacy is needed to achieve this. Also, we need to strengthen the capacity of providers and also ensure constant supply of comodities. Development and sustaining community structures will help in promoting ownership and sustaining gains recorded. Awareness is still low, we need to intensify BCC and referral activities to increase uptake.
Within 5 years of implementation, we have established Community based distribution Networks in the 64 local areas we work. The Network members were trained & deployed to create demand, distribute commodities and refer clients for LAM. We plan to strengthen the networks and expand the strategy to other states to form National coalition of community based distributors and Demand creators of Nigeria. Thats my dream! We will also participate in advocacy activities for increased FP funding.