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Journalists trained on reporting reproductive health, Family planning methods

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Family planning advocates are hopeful that by broadening the knowledge of journalists on reproductive health and contraception would help advance accurate and balanced reporting of various family planning methods and expand the role of media to hold policy makers accountable.

Of the 45 million women of reproductive age (15­–49) in Nigeria, 15.7 million want to avoid a pregnancy, according to a survey by Guttmaacher Institute, meaning they are able to become pregnant and are sexually active but do not want a child.

Sadly, more than half of them – 9.5 million -have an unmet need for modern contraceptives, also known as birth control, which helps women who want to plan their families and prevent pregnancy.

This results in the increasing rate of unintended pregnancies that can lead to unsafe abortions, a major contributor maternal deaths.

Although the Nigeria Family Planning Blueprint, 2020-2024, outlines the country’s plans for achieving a revised target modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (mCPR) of 27 per cent by 2024, funding remains inadequate to cover the unmet need for family planning services.

But asides funding, poor knowledge and awareness is identified also as a major challenge hampering the delivery, acceptance and use of contraception.

This is why the Rotary Action Group for Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health (RMCH), in conjunction with German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development over the weekend organized a two-day virtual media training on reproduction health and family planning.

Emmanuel Lufadeju, the National Coordinator of RMCH said the training was meant to increase the capacity of journalists in reporting reproductive health issues.

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Abubakar Panti, a professor at the Uthman Dan Fodio University Teaching Hospital (UDUTH) Sokoto explained how poor awareness is making many young Nigerians believe in traditional methods of contraception that are not 100 per cent efficacious.

“Coitus Interruptus, commonly known as `withdrawal method’, is not an effective method of preventing unplanned pregnancy and does not guarantee 100 per cent efficacy even though it is among most commonly used methods”, Mr Panti, a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist said.

Panti said the method was susceptible to failure, stressing that the method required a high-level of discipline on the part of the man, as the ejaculation time was the highpoint of sexual sensation.

According to him, there were cases where stubborn semen still found its way into the female to fertilise the eggs, thereby resulting in unplanned pregnancy.

He said lactation amenorrhoea, also known as `exclusive breastfeeding’’, was another effective way of preventing pregnancy, provided the woman was not menstruating, with chances of conception in the first six months put at two per cent.

In her presentation, Shifa Mwesigye, a media expert, urged journalists to localise their reports in order to make a greater impact on the people within an area.

She said journalists should explain the impact of policies to the understanding of the ordinary person, as well as breakdown statistical figures, which usually put stories in context.

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