By Gabriel Olawale
A newly released study carried out by the Society for Family Health and Federal Ministry of Health and Population Services International, has shown that most Nigerian women prefer to access family planning services from chemists and drug shops.
The survey which provided insights into family planning supply and demand from the perspective of consumers in Nigeria also revealed that many women bypass their nearest outlets to obtain family planning services from outlets farther from home.
Speaking in Lagos at the public presentation and state dissemination of Market For Family Planning, CM4FP, Family Planning, and Reproductive Health Practice Lead, Society for Family Health, Dr. Anthony Nwala said that the study covers four states and put into consideration small, semi, medium and large urban areas.
“CM4FP’s comprehensive outlet census highlights the complexity and diversity of the total family planning market in Niger, Kaduna, Abia, and Lagos states. Our findings show that drug shops, chemists, PPMV were the most prevalent outlet types across sites except the large urban site (Lagos), where pharmacies were the most common outlet to respondent linking.
“We also observed that distance from a consumer’s home to her source of family planning varied by the method in which many women bypass their nearest outlet to obtain family planning from an outlet farther from home. Only 6 percent of matched women accessed family planning at their nearest outlet while one-third utilized the nearest facility.
Nwala explained that the research findings also revealed that proximity and service quality emerged as top considerations driving consumers’ choice of family planning outlet. “In accessing family planning, consumers also put into consideration affordability, recommendation by family, friends or provider among, others.
“Contraceptive product audits reveal variability in the pricing of contraceptives both between and within outlets of the same type. Also, many outlets alternate between having short-term methods in and out of stock. In nearly 40 percent of outlets, family planning products moved in and out of stock over short-term time periods.
Reacting to the outcome, Director, Reproductive Health at the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Kayode Afolabi said the study highlights the need to invest more in capacity-building for healthcare providers.
“The study brings out a lot of evidence that can reform practice and improve access to family planning services in the country. For instance, the study shows that women lookout for quality in accessing family planning services which means that we need to continually strengthen the capacity of service providers by trained and retrained them so that they will be able to provide quality services.
“Also geographical barriers come up as one reason why there could be a hindrance to access, we should also look at it and ensure serviced delivery points are available across the country so that women can access FP services conveniently.
Afolabi hinted that on annual basis, the federal government invested $4 million into the procurement of family planning commodities, “with the advent of COVID-19 pandemic, FG is considering series of innovative approaches to improve funding.”
On her part, Reproductive Health Coordinator, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr Victoria Omoera said that the outcome of the study reflected the true position of things in Lagos state as the government relies heavily on public-private partnership in driving family planning services.
“We invest in training healthcare providers on regular basis and as regard distance, I think it has to do with people’s behavior because women still largely rely on support from their partner to be able to use family planning. They also prefer to access family planning far away from home for privacy and confidentiality.
Vanguard News Nigeria