The experts who spoke at a media roundtable in Asaba said the focus by government to combat COVID-19 has obviously impacted negatively in other areas of the health sector. Speaking on the theme, “Family Planning Budget Line Release,” the chairperson of an advocacy core group, Mrs. Rachael Obodo-Obunseli, said the fight against the pandemic has affected the release of funds for other health issues.
According to her, the lockdown due to COVID-19 would result in cases of unplanned pregnancies following lack of consumables and commodities at various primary healthcare centre in the course of the compulsory sit-at-home order.
“There is a very huge gap in funding the programme in the country. This is the reason why there has been shortage of commodities among others at the PHC facilities across the country in the period under review,” she hinted.
Also, Dr. Bobola Agbonle, Principal Medical Officer, Delta State University Health Sciences, Asaba Campus, said unless the government took decisive action, the impact of the lockdown would reflect on cases of unplanned pregnancies and population explosion.
“We have been on the lockdown for upward of three months now since April and come December, we are going to have explosion of babies.
“And at the same time, we are also expecting explosion of abortions because most women can take the decision to abort the unwanted pregnancies and that is equally a problem as many babies will die. “There is also a rise on issues of violence against young girls and women now. So, this is why we must push for women to take up family planning to save lives and prevent unplanned pregnancies and death by abortions,” Agbonle said.
She noted that child spacing through family planning helped prevent death during pregnancies, adding that the more children a woman has, exposed her to higher risks and death. According to her, the current economic challenge calls for family planning, adding that most families could no longer feed adequately.
She said infant mortality was on the increase because the nutritional requirement for a child to remain healthy, was lacking. “With family planning, we can prevent challenges of malnutrition, sexually transmitted disease, death by abortion, teenage pregnancies among others. This is why we must continue to push for family planning,” she stressed.