Gates Foundation urges Nigeria to increase family planning funding

To safeguard the health of Nigerians, especially mothers, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Nigeria, says there is an urgent need for the federal government to increase domestic funding for health services and care, especially in Family Planning.

According to it, this has become necessary as donor funding is dwindling and healthy people still remain the greatest assets of any nation.

Paulin Basinga, the Nigeria Country Director, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, gave the advice at the fifth Nigeria Family Planning Conference (NFPC2018) in Abuja.

The conference has its theme as: “Investment, Innovation, Inclusiveness”.

“For Nigeria to reach its full potential, it needs to prioritse its greatest assets, its people, by investing in their health, education and equal opportunity which ensures prosperity that is sustained from generation to generation.

“By investing in a strong primary health care system, by delivering diverse essential FP services, medicine, vaccines and nutrition services, the country can efficiently and effectively take care of 90 per cent of people’s health care needs.

“Nigeria has the resources and knows how to get this right.

“More funding is needed and also data as well as strong and bold leadership to accelerate progress.

“The donor money is shrinking and it is urgent to increase domestic funding for health and more specifically for FP,’’ Ms Basinga, who was represented by Ms Diallo said.

“The right in investment in FP that the conference advocates for is a critical step to achieve demographic transition and reap demographic dividend.

“Investing in FP is one of the smartest investments a country can make and Nigeria should not be an exception,’’ she said.

Ms Basinga said that contraceptives, which are part of FP measures, can help save lives as well as reduce poverty.

According to her, this will translate to more days spent in school, more women who are freer to work outside their homes, earn an income and contribute to the economies.

“Also fewer women will die in pregnancies and more children will survive childhood,’’ the Gates Foundation official said. (NAN)