From Okey Sampson, Umuahia

Abia State Commissioner for Health Dr Ngozi Okoronkwo has announced that the state allocated 15% of its 2024 budget to the health sector. This marks the highest budgetary allocation for health in Abia’s history, demonstrating the current administration’s commitment to improving public health.

Dr. Okoronkwo made the announcement during a dissemination meeting for the Delivering Innovation in Self Care (DISC 1.0) project held in Umuahia. The meeting, attended by the Society for Family Health (SFH) and other stakeholders, focused on promoting family planning and self-care initiatives.

The Commissioner commended SFH for including Abia among the pilot states for the DISC project and expressed the state’s willingness to partner with any agency promoting family planning. She emphasised the importance of budgetary allocations for family planning initiatives to reduce maternal mortality rates.

Dr. Oluwaleun Adeleke, Senior Learning Advisor for the DISC project, highlighted the project’s success in reducing unplanned pregnancies and improving reproductive health outcomes. He advocated for extending the project to rural areas to reach more women in need.

Professor Victoria Akanwa of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike (MOUAU) stressed the importance of sex education for young people, arguing that denying them access to accurate information can have detrimental consequences.

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Dr Anthony Nwala, Assistant Chief Programme Officer at SFH, explained that the DISC project was launched in 2020 to provide birth control options during the COVID-19 lockdown. The first phase of the project, currently active in 15 states including Abia, is scheduled to conclude in May 2024.

Dr. Kalu Ulu Kalu, Executive Secretary of the Abia State Primary Health Care Development Agency, requested the project’s extension to rural areas where access to family planning resources is limited. He emphasised the need to address high maternal mortality rates in these areas.

Dr Veronica Chiemela Eze, State Social Behavioural Change Communication Officer for the DISC project, highlighted the project’s success in educating women about self-injectable contraceptives like Sayana Press.

Abia State Family Planning Coordinator, Mrs Iheama Adanma Kelechi, urged couples to embrace family planning to manage their reproductive health and avoid unwanted pregnancies.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Ifeyinwa Uma-Kalu, emphasised the importance of family planning in today’s economic climate. She stressed the need for planned pregnancies to improve maternal and child health outcomes.

Women who participated in the project testified to its benefits, stating that they now enjoy improved sexual health and peace of mind due to the effective birth control methods provided by the DISC project.


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