Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Various stakeholders in Benue have promised to support the call for the creation of a dedicated budget line for family planning (FP) to mitigate against the increasing spate of maternal morbidity and mortality in the state.
The stakeholders made the promise at an interactive session with social influencers organised by the Center for Family and Reproductive Health Support Initiative (CFRHSI) in Makurdi at the weekend.
Speaking during the event, Traditional Ruler in charge of Makurdi Local Government, Ter Makurdi, Chief Sule Abenga who lamented the high rate of abortion occasioned by unwanted pregnancies said the need for the state to have a dedicated budget line for family planning cannot be over-emphasised.
He called on the Center to continue to explore all avenues to get the government involved to ensure that the separate budget line is captured in this year’s supplementary budget.
“The call by the center for a budget line to be created for family planning is very welcome and the traditional institution support it. We promise to do our best to reach out to those who are supposed to be part of what will make the budget line to be approved.
“We must all support and sensitize our people to observe and engage in family planning. FP is not only for child spacing but a subject that embraces a lot of other issues and government can do a lot in tackling these issues.”
Others who spoke including the state Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Revd. Akpen Leva, Hajia Hauwa Isah, State Coordinator of Federation of Muslim Women Association as well as Arc. Nguvan Kyenge, President, Entrepreneur Network Nigeria, (ENN) joined their voices in the call for the creation of a budget line for family planning.
Earlier in his speech, Chairman of the Center and Chief Medical Director of Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH), Prof. Terlumum Swende who lamented that many women are dying of needless deaths said it was for that reason that the center is starting quite early this year to ensure that the FP budget line is included in the supplementary budget.
“We have visited all stakeholders and we have continued to build on those visits to ensure the budget line is created this time around. Everyone visited has shown interest in ensuring the budget line is created.
“Women are dying of needless diseases. Based on the knowledge already acquired we could use them to prevent unnecessary deaths. Want to move FP to the next level to save lives. If FP is applied properly, it will enable us get to where we aught to be,” Swende stated.