Today, the Society for Family Health (SFH) joins the rest of the world in celebrating World Population Day. We renew our call on this day for the expansion of the provision of family planning services in Nigeria and other West African countries through the Private Sector. We are happy to note Government at Federal and State level commitment to scaling FP services and we support the provision of quality service provision and products through our network of primary care providers. The possibility that all women, regardless of age or financial status, have access to the information they need to make informed decisions about their family planning options, and the ability to receive a service, if needed pushes us to continue advocating for service provision in the private sector through community pharmacies, private clinics and hospitals, and patent and proprietary medicine shops, also known as chemists.
SFH has over the last 20 years sought diverse ways to unlock the full potential of women and girls – encouraging and nurturing their desires for their lives, their families and their careers to better the society. The private sector plays a critical role in family planning (FP) and contributes to a total market approach to providing services for women. Over 60% of people’s first point of call for health services is in the private sector, including in community pharmacies and PPMVs. The private sector accounts to around two-fifths of contraceptive provision worldwide. In Nigeria, over 60% of women obtain their contraceptive supplies from the private sector. Therefore, on this World Population Day with the theme: “Unleashing the Power of Gender Equality: Uplifting the Voices of Women and Girls to Unlock our World’s Infinite Possibilities”, we call on government to continuously create an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive. The government should continually ensure that regulation supporting private sector provision of contraceptives is supportive of growth, development and supplies through the private sector as this has a core role in addressing access to FP, one of the high impact interventions to address maternal and child mortality.
Through various interventions, SFH has implemented programmes towards strengthening the private sector capabilities in service delivery, demand generation, data quality and reporting, supply chain management including last mile delivery and building resilient health systems to improve access to sustainable markets for contraceptive services. Attention to equity, quality, affordability, access, method choice, and good counselling have been the central focus to ensure that women obtaining information and contraceptives from these private sector sources are making accessing quality affordable health services in the spirit of Universal Health Coverage and as a core strategy in meeting our commitment to FP2030 goals.
We advocate that governments should continue to engage the private sector partners in developing policies and programmes that expand access to family planning information, products and services to optimize equity in decision making for the communities for which we exist. We also reiterate our support to governments in provision of technical support and in exploring schemes such as self-care, innovation and supporting public private partnerships to scale evidence based high impact practices,promote quality services and equitable, affordable access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health.
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