Abuja – Association for the Advancement of Family Planning (AAFP) said it was important to improve the health literacy of citizens on moderating family size as 25 per cent of pregnancies in Nigeria were high risk.
Prof. Oladapo Ladipo, President AAFP, who made this known while briefing newsmen on Tuesday, in Abuja explained that high risk pregnancies were pregnancies that could lead to maternal death or adverse complications for the woman. Ladipo said 25 per cent of pregnancies were considered high risk due to several factors that could expose them to life time complications or death. According to him, women having too many children, such as more than four, as well as pregnancies below the age of 18 years can lead to maternal death or adverse complications He said lack of birth spacing and pregnancies above the age of 35 years was also considered high risk and could lead to an adverse outcome. Ladipo advised women to start having their children early between the ages of 20 to 29 years. He added that women having children above 35 years must be registered in a facility with skilled birth attendants, with an obstetrician to manage the pregnancy and any complication that could arise.
Ladipo also urged the media to educate the citizens, by changing their mindset on population moderation and smaller family size in order to achieve a healthy and developed economy. “The only way Nigerians can understand is to change their mindset which can be fast tracked by the media. “If media gives visibility on dangers and health implication of a populated economy, people will adopt smaller family size in line with population policy, approved by the federal government of Nigeria. “The approved number now is four children per couple, however, it should be four children per man, not per woman. “If a man wants to have two wives it will be two children per wife and if he wants to have four wives each of the wives will have one child and they will live a quality and healthy life,’’ he said. He said women should allowed access to family planning clinics to enable them get the best advise on child spacing.
Ladipo cautioned women having more than four children because of their desire to have a male child saying there should be no discrimination between a male and a female child in the family. Ladipo also urged governments at all level to ensure the girl-child is given free education to tertiary level to allow for better economic opportunity and developing the economy