By Callistus Agwaza, Jalingo
Contrary to previously held stereotype against family planning in the state, thousands of residents now embrace child spacing as a new way of life to ensure manageable family sizes and sustain healthy living in Taraba State.
Heads of some Primary Health Care Centers in Jalingo and some beneficiaries who spoke to a team of journalists on Friday attributed the development to increased awareness and repositioning of the services.
According to the Head of Family Planning unit of PHC Sintali ward, Jalingo Hajia Hafsatu Salleh, previously, less than half a thousand women of child birth age came for the services per annum, compared to about a thousand five hundred that have accessed the services between February and November this year.
Salleh said that with the intervention of some donor agencies such as The Challenge Initiative (TCI), and others, most of the hospitals have been renovated and commodities provided so that the services can be offered to interested persons free of charge.
‘At this centre for instance, there was major renovation by some NGOs. They also provided the commodities so that we offer family planning services here absolutely free. Our team of social mobilizers are also doing a great job of enlightening the populace. Some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding family planning in the past have been put to rest and now we usually have a large number of persons coming out to access the services.
‘It may please you to know that even unmarried youth and adolescents also frequent the hospital for counseling which is a very good thing as this is pertinent for them to keep from unwanted pregnancies that can cost them their education and future, lead to child marriage, health issues or even their lives’ she said.
She however said that the influx of so many people coming for the services has put a lot of pressure on the available commodities especially the implants.
Some of the beneficiaries of the said that they are now able to space their children and enjoy intimacy with their spouses without the fear of pregnancies and urged other women to embrace the services.
Meanwhile, a development communication specialist Mr. Akinolu Akinpelumi has described family planning as a panacea to the menace of out of school children in Taraba.
Speaking at a three day workshop on media advocacy for Family Planning held in Jalingo recently, Akinpelumi noted that most children end up on the streets because the family size grossly outweigh available resources to cater for the education needs of all the children.
He insisted that if families consciously control the number of children they have to align with the resources, it will be easier to keep them in school and cater for their wellbeing rather than pushup them to the streets to fend for themselves at a time they should be in school.
He further noted that ‘family, beyond it’s economic benefits, also reduces the risk posed by child birth on the health of women and the family as a whole. That is why it is ideal for families to take the issue of family planning seriously.