EXPERTS at this year’s World Population Day (WPD) have described as unacceptable the fertility rate of 5.7 per cent in the country, stressing that Nigeria is lagging behind many countries in controlling its population growth.
Earlier, President Goodluck Jonathan has disclosed that a bill may soon be sponsored at the National Assembly seeking to ensure birth control in the country.
He spoke during the inauguration of Chairman and National Commissioners for National Population Commission (NPC).
This was the conclusion drawn yesterday in Abuja at the 2012 WPD where dignitaries from the NPC, health sector and international organisation gathered to mark the yearly event with the theme: “Universal Access to Reproductive Health Services”
The Chairman, NPC, Eze Festus Odimegwu, who informed that Nigeria fertility rate stood at 5.7 per cent as revealed by the National Demographic Health Survey 2008, explained that 59,000 women and girls die yearly from pregnancy related causes.
Representing the Chairman, the Director General of the Commission, Mr. Jamain Zubema, further explained that the current situation in Nigeria with infant mortality rate at 75 per cent compared to other countries like Libya 15.04, Egypt 25.92, China 21.99, Singapore1.92, United Kingdom 4.91, Italy 3.51, South Africa 54.81 and Gambia 73.84.
According to him, the Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) is abysmally low at 10 percent while countries like Botswana, Indonesia, Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana and South Africa are 39, 57, 32, 23, 20, 19 and 55 percent respectively.
He said: “The reproductive health situation in Nigeria demands a lot more wholistic intervention. More attention needs to be paid to access to voluntary family planning services, increasing age at first birth and improving maternal health services.”
Speaking with The Guardian on the reason for this year’s occasion, the United Nations Population Fund National Programme Analyst Obstetric Fistula, Mrs. Saadatu Sule, said that lack of access to reproductive health service both at the rural and urban places had grown to have multiple effect on the birth control services.