Saturday, July 11, 2020

As World population day is observed tomorrow, explosion of unwanted pregnancies and child birth has been predicted by medical experts as a result of COVID-19 pandemic that has led to lockdown and decreased access to family planning supplies.

World population day is an annual event observed on July 11 every year, which seeks to raise awareness of global population issues. The event was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989.

A recent United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) research highlighted that if the lockdown continues for six months and there is major disruption to health services, then 47 million women in low and middle-income countries might not have access to modern contraceptives. This would in turn lead to seven million unintended pregnancies.

Apart from that, it could see a rise in gender-based violence, female genital mutilation and child marriages.

Speaking with the Matron of the Primary Health Center at Gana in Sapele Local Government Area, Mrs Blessing Oke, it was gathered that the centre offers lots of health services ranging from Ante- natal, Child welfare, Enumeration, Child birth and Family planning.

Mrs Oke hinted that since the lockdown, people have not been coming for family planning as they used to due to restriction of movement; worse hit, according to her, were those in the riverine area.

She predicted explosion of unwanted pregnancies and child birth coupled with under aged or early marriages for those that are using short term family planning methods such as tablets and injectable that could not follow up, warning that this could lead to other health challenges.

Mrs Oke said that at this rate, there might be more child birth as from November, and December this year, and might span to January, February, March and even more of 2021 if the lockdown continues as a result of the pandemic.

She pointed out that though they were not short of contraceptives and other family planning materials, their challenge was shortage of staff.

Oke advised family planning for all couple so that they can make babies they can adequately carter for.

The theme for this year's World Population Day is "Safeguarding the health and rights of women and girls around the world especially during the time of Covid-19 pandemic".

The day is significant because it highlights the problems of over population, raises awareness about the effects of over population on the environment and development. It also talks about the health problems faced by child bearing women and the importance of family planning, gender equality, poverty, maternal health and human rights.

The day also aims at spreading awareness about the expanding World population and the importance of reproductive health.

By Valerie Oyibo-Itie