Family Planning: Cross River vows to bridge funding gap

The Government of Cross River, in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), pledged to bridge the state’s funding gap in the procurement of Family Planning  commodities. The Commissioner for Health, Dr Henry Ayuk, made the commitment during a one-day state level dissemination of the National Guidelines on Funded Procurement of family planning commodities in Calabar on Thursday. According to Ayuk, the state will strengthen advocacy on family planning, especially in remote areas to enhance effective implementation of the policy. He said “I commend the contributors and handlers of the national guidelines for family planning and the present administration in Cross River for the planned bridging of funding gap. “I want to appeal to legislators at the state and national levels to capture the procurement of family planning commodities as part of their constituency project outreaches.”
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The state Coordinator of the project, Ms Lucy Enakirehi, said that the Federal Government, with support from donor agencies like UNFPA, had ensured the procurement of family planning commodities in the nation over the years. Enakirehi, however, said that three years ago, it became obvious that there was donor fatigue and  stakeholders got the message that donors could not keep doing it for Nigeria. She added that the message was for sub-nationals such as states to commit themselves to funding of family planning commodities procurement. She said “over the years, it has been the Federal Government with support from UNFPA that  funded family planning procurement in the 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory.
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“At a point, supplies started dwindling so the state commitment will breach the gap of the supplies and distribution. “Going forward, it means the government of Cross River will contribute to the national basket fund at the federal level so when procurement is done centrally with support from UNFPA, the state will have adequate supplies to meet its demand.” The coordinator added that the family planning commodities covered in the guidelines included condoms for male and females, progestin only contraceptive pills, combined oral contraceptive pills and injectable contraceptives (DMPA IM/SC). Delivering a goodwill message, Dr Gifty Addico, the Resident Representative of UNFPA in Nigeria, said the UN agency served as the procurement agent for the Federal Ministry of Health.
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Represented by Mr Arasu Jambukeswaran, the Head of Office, UNFPA in Cross River, Addico said the Federal Government and other donors made contributions which was managed by UNFPA and the commodities were delivered to the nation’s Central Contraceptive Warehouse. He, however, said that due to dwindling funding for family planning commodities and the urgent need to reduce the unmet needs which was at 34.5 per cent, state procurement of commodities was now part of the initiative to end stock-out. The resident representative added that “to meet the state’s requirement for family planning commodities, Cross River Government will need to make commitment and provide fund to meet its own requirements to be able to meet the shortfall and bridge the gap in supply.” The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in contributing to the basket fund, Cross River will join states like Ogun and Gombe to bridge family planning funding gap.

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