Nigeria: As UK Withdraws From Funding FP, Medical Women Asks Nigerian Government

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The National President of the Medical Women Association of Nigeria under the Partnership for Advocacy in child and family health At Scale, Dr Minnie Oseji, has lamented the decision of United Kingdom Government to withdraw the annual £3 million into the basket fund for FP commodities of Nigeria. Dr Oseji, in a statement issued to newsmen in Abuja, asked the Minister of Finance and Nigeria's federal government to step in and fill the gap to prevent the negative consequences poor funding of family planning can cause in an already overpopulated country with dire demographic challenges. " Between 2012 to 2020, the UK government pledged and paid into the Nigeria FP commodities basket fund a total of 21million pounds for the procurement of FP commodities. UK government support contributed to saving the lives of millions of Nigerian women who would otherwise be unable to delay pregnancies and be at risk of maternal death." She said She however, lamented that the same Conservative Government which pledged to save lives of women in the developing world has beaten a retreat from this commitment, signaling that the UK will no longer be paying the annual £3 million into the basket fund for FP commodities of Nigeria. " Nigerian women could only expect one-fifth of this sum for 2021, with no certainties about future funding. So, Nigeria is facing an 80 percent cut from the UK government's contribution to the procurement for FP commodities. This is coming at a time when families are increasingly unable to meet the out-of-pocket expenditure for commodities, cannulas, and cough syrup." She added. Dr Oseji revealed that several experts in the Nigerian maternal health space have questioned the timing and merit of this decision because, according to her, the withdrawal of family planning funding in Nigeria will undoubtedly have a harmful impact on the UK government flagship Lafia health project, a project with FP as one of the three most significant components. In addition, financial savings gains may well lead to programmatic failure for the UK. " We the 23 civil society organizations of the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health at Scale project, join with the maternal health community of Nigeria to call on the UK government to rethink this ill-timed and harmful decision to Nigerian women, we also recognize the opportunity in the moment for the Nigerian Government. " She appealed.

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