The Government of Cross River on Thursday in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) disclosed that it was committed to bridging the state’s funding gap in the procurement of Family Planning (FP) commodities.
The commitment was made by the state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Henry Ayuk during a one-day State Level Dissemination of the National Guidelines on State Funded Procurement of FP Commodities, in Calabar.
According to Ayuk, the state would strengthen its advocacy on family planning, especially in remote parts of the state in order to enhance the effective implementation of the policy.
“While I commend the contributors to the development of the national guidelines for family planning and the present administration in Cross River for the planned bridging of the funding gap
“I want to appeal to legislators both at the state and national levels to also capture the procurement of family planning commodities as part of their constituency project outreaches.
On her part, Cross River’s Family Planning Coordinator, Ms Lucy Enakirehi said over the years, the Federal Government with support from donor agencies like UNFPA had ensured the procurement of FP commodities in the nation.
Enakirehi, however, noted that three years ago it became obvious that there was donor fatigue and it became clear to stakeholders to get the message down, that donors could not keep doing it for Nigeria.
She said the message was for sub-nationals such as states to commit themselves to the funding of FP procurement just as Cross River had done.
“Over the years it had been the Federal Government with support from UNFPA that had funded the procurement of FP in the 36 states including the Federal Capital Territory.
“At a point, the supplies started dwindling, so the state commitment would breach the gap of both the supplies and the 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,” she said.
She added that the FP commodities covered in the guidelines included condoms for both males and females, progestin-only contraceptive pills, combined oral contraceptive pills, and injectable contraceptives (DMPA IM/SC), among others.
Delivering a goodwill message on behalf of Dr Gifty Addico Resident Representative of UNFPA in Nigeria, Mr Arasu Jambukeswaran, Head of Office, UNFPA in Cross River, said the UN agency serves as the procurement agent for the Federal Ministry of Health.
He said contributions were made through a basket fund with contributions from the Federal Government and other donors and it was managed by UNFPA adding that the commodities were delivered to the nation’s Central Contraceptive Warehouse (CCW).
Jambukeswaran said however, due to the dwindling funding for FP commodities and the urgent need to reduce the unmet needs for FP which was at 34.5 per cent, state procurement of commodities was now part of the initiative to end stock-out in the state.
“To meet the State’s requirements for FP commodities, Cross River Government will need to make commitment and funding to meet their own requirements to be able to meet the shortfall, bridge the gaps in supply to the State,” he said.