Anambra State Govt. Restates That Provision of Family Planning Services Is Free

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Anambra State Government says provision of Family Planning services is free not just in Anambra State or Nigeria, but worldwide.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala, made the point clear during a one-day Anambra State Media Round Table Meeting on Family Planning, organised by Development Communications, DEVCOMS, and The Challenge Initiative, TCI. In Awka.

The theme of the Media Roundtable Meeting was “Improving Access to Family Planning Services Among Women Of Reproductive Age In Anambra State.

The Health Commissioner, represented by the Director, Public Health, Dr UcheChukwu Onyejimbe, however, observed that the issue of User-charge has become a thony issue resulting from some providers especially Faith Based and Privately owned health facilities complaining that they needed funds to buy sundries such as hand gloves, cotton wool, disinfectant, etc, leading to series of meetings.

According to him, they eventually decided on charging three hundred or five hundred naira, adding that while the charges may contribute to low patronage, other people seeking the services may see it as moderate.

Contributing, the Executive Director, Anambra State Primary Health Care Development Agency, ADPHDA, Dr Chioma Ezenyimulu, maintained that Immunization exercise has been in partnership with some groups, adding also that Agency had always lived up to expectations.

She further informed that erring staff have always been disciplined, but complained about inadequate manpower, stressing the need for recruitment of workers to replace retired staff.

In his submission, the MD/CEO of National Light Newspapers, Sir Chuka Nnabuife, spoke on what the media can do to help save the situation to include creating more awareness for people to make informed decisions and conclusions, through proper studying, findings and communicating for the benefit of all concerned.

In his remarks, the State Chairman of Civil Society Network, Prince Chris Azor, noted that it is the primary function of government to provide security and welfare of citizens, adding that when these are not taken care of, it leads to trust deficit.

He however, called for sustained efforts in seeking partnership with the private sector and wealthy individuals to assist in subsidising the cost.

Earlier, the TCI Family Planning Coordinator, Aneota Egbe, posited that the Media Roundtable Meeting was to assess efforts already made by the Media practitioners and Information officers in sensitizing the people on benefits of Family Planning and challenges encountered, with a view to addressing them to move forward.

In their presentations, the Family Planning Coordinator, Mrs Chioma Okedo, spoke on issues affecting Family Planning Budgetary Releases, while Ify Unachukwu of the ABS dealt on Dealing With The Challenge of Family Planning Service Charge.

The State Focal Person, Franca Madike, thanked participants for their active roles and expressed optimism that the aim would be achieved.

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