From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
It was a day of honour for some notable personalities and groups in Delta State for their contributions to the advancement of family planning in the state.
The personalities included the wife of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Dame Edith Okowa; a royal father, the Okobaro of Jeremi (Ughevwen) Kingdom in Ughelli South Local Government Area, Dr. Matthew Ediri Egbi, Owahwa II; and a royal mother, the Omu Ahaba, Ada Nwanneka Biosah.
Groups that also received awards of appreciation were Social Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC), Advocacy Core Group, Media Forum for Family Planning and Inter-Faith Group.
Besides, certificates of appreciation were presented to various stakeholders in the state’s reproductive health sector for their contributions.
The awards were presented in Asaba at the valedictory session and End of Project Dissemination of The Challenge Initiative (TCI).
TCI is a non-gov-ernmental organisation owned by United States-based John Hopkins Centre for Communication (CCP). It has collaborated with the state government in the past four years to deepen family planning advocacy through its ‘business unusual’ strategy.
During the period, the NGO built the capacity of stakeholders and increased government’s attention towards family planning as well as sexual and reproductive health issues in the state. The end-of-project disemination event, therefore, marked the official handover of the platform for sustenance to the state government and stakeholders.
Dame Edith Okowa pledged the commitment of the Delta State government to sustain the programme.
Represented by the permanent secretary at the state ministry of health, Dr. Ejiro Ogheneaga, Mrs. Okowa said she would ensure that women and children benefitted from the gains of the TCI family planning and repro-ductive health.
Ogheneaga, in his own speech read by the director, planning, research and statistics, at the ministry, Dr. Christian Tetsola, said more women adopted modern contraceptives as their family planning methods across the state in the last four years. Tetsola said, as at December 2020, a total of 74,660 women were using contraceptives.
He said TCI has made great impacts in family planning and reproductive health in the state, adding that the gains would be sustained by the state government.
According to him, the increase in the number of new acceptors was as a result of vigorous demand-generation strategies deployed by TCI through community volunteer engagement and family planning in-reaches.
“In this period, the number of additional women using modern contraceptives (new acceptors) annually has increased from 31,315 in 2017 to 74,660 as at December 2020 and this was largely due to vigorous demand-generation strategies deployed through community volunteer engagement (58 per cent of persons reached received FP services) and FP in-reaches,” he said.
He stated that TCI has been able to build capacity of the drivers of the programme for the state take ownership and improve coordination harnessing all the resources at it’s disposal, including other partners support.
“I am confident that the gains made will be sustained as His Excellency, the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has shown consistent support for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) programmes in the state”