Mama Sessay fell into labour in her native home in Sierra Leone. She was being assisted by fellow village women. Her labour was prolonged. The process painful. At last, one of the twin in her womb busted forth. The other trapped inside. She was later rushed to a clinic some kilometres from her village when the women realised they could help with the second baby trapped inside her womb.
By the time she got to the clinic, Mama Sessay was exhausted. She had lost much blood. Finally, the midwives were able to deliver the second twin but Mama Sessay was already turning pale. Her blood flowing on the floor. She was rushed to the theatre for blood transfusion in a running battle to save her life. Alas, she was taken to the clinic too late. She later died.
“Throughout the entire incident, the men were absent,” says Dr Edun Omasanjuwa, Lagos state Team Leader, Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI). They were only present at her funeral.”
Dr Omasanjuwa shared this story at the breakfast meeting on Contraceptive Technical Updates (CTUs) for Policy Makers on Wednesday at the Shoregate Hotel, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria.
According to him, Family Planning (FP) is a way of planning economic growth, and giving women their lives back after child birth. It is a safe way for child spacing. This explains the reason for NURHI phase two plan to reach more states and communities with his FP initiatives.
“NURHI is working to contribute to achieving more in Abuja, Ilorin, Ibadan, Kaduna, Zaria, Benin. At the NURHI Phase two we are working in Kaduna, Oyo, Lagos in a bid to move to new urban centres and rural communities for the NURHI 2 which is for the year 2015 to 2020. The programme will be in Kaduna and Lagos for five years while for Oyo it is three years, 2015 to 2018.”
He explains that NURHI’s key principles are built on the realisation that demand for FP is a prerequisite to increased contraceptive use. NURHI hopes to create a positive shift in FP to increase demand for it.
“NURHI’s holistic approach is to create a supportive environment, improve quality of services, expand access to services and generate demand for FP,” he adds.
On her part, Dr. Okaga S.A, Reproductive Health co-ordinator/Dept. director, Lagos State Ministry of Health observes that men also need to be sensitised when it comes to FP as women need their support on making a choice. “There are many cultural issues when it comes to pushing for FP. Lagos State has done a lot in getting to the percentage set for us on the Millennium Development Goals. Our priority is to invest in FP. Religion also plays an important role in pushing for FP. Some religions believe you don’t have to do FP. Poverty is also an issue. We should preach the gospel that parents should do proper planning for their lives. When they have children they can’t care for, it affects the quality of life they live.”
Another participant, Mr Basit O. Baruwa, assistant director, Lagos Bureau of Statistics (LBS), Ministry of Economic Planning & Budget says intending and unintended users of FP needs role models that they can look up to when making a choice of FP.
“We need role models that people can look up to when you talk about FP. This should be taken into consideration when doing media plan for FP or when talking about it.”
At the event, Jumoke Onaolapo of NURHI who talked about methods and benefits of FP also says NURHI is working to upgrade existing healthcare centres to encourage women visit these centres for FP.