Dr Adebimpe Adebiyi, Director, Department of Family Health, Federal Ministry of Health, says contraceptives are not cancerous as being feared by some Nigerians.
She said that women should not be placed on any contraceptive method without going through proper tests to ascertain the most suitable method healthy for them.
According to her, the use of contraceptives for child spacing is accepted by both Islam and Christianity, contrary to claims by some Nigerians.
“Government has studied and put into consideration religious perspective of family planning. The document on Islamic perspective of family planning is developed by government in collaboration with the Sultan of Sokoto, who heads the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA). The policy was duly signed by the Sultan in collaboration with Islamic clerics who surely know what the Quran says about family planning. From the Christian perspective, we have the family planning policy signed by the President, Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN). Access to contraceptive services, maternal and newborn health care is critical for women’s health as well as their social and economic well-being,” she said.
She added that the Federal Government would continue to educate and sensitise women on how to demand for their rights in the society.
“Women deserve access to information and services they need to decide if, and when to, become pregnant,” she said.
She said that investing on modern contraception, maternal and newborn health care was key to the protection of the rights of women in the country.
Adebiyi maintained that women empowerment entailed educating the girl-child which would not only benefit an individual, but the entire society.
According to her, educating the girl-child has significant impact on poverty reduction and could place girls in a better position to demand for their rights.
She explained that reproductive health comprised of 12 pillars and identified them to include status of women, family planning, maternal care and safe mother-hood, abortion, reproductive tract infections and HIV/AIDS and infertility.
“Others include nutrition, infant and child health, adolescent reproductive health and sexuality, sexual behaviour, harmful sexual practices, environmental and occupational health, reproductive tract and malignancies,” she said.
Adebiyi added that reproductive health was crucial because it was not only a fundamental human right, but also a social and economic imperative.
She said its importance was also evident from the scope and magnitude of needs reflected by its various dimensions.
According to her, it is very important for women living in the rural areas to be informed and educated on their rights, especially with regards to maternal health to enable them demand for quality health care.
She, however, stressed that women should not be the only ones taking up the fight on reproductive rights, adding that men should also be involved.
“A man, who is aware of his role in family planning, and the role of family planning in the economy, will be more likely to understand the importance of contraception, and respect a woman’s body. Men should be involved, not just because women are our daughters, friends and wives, but because women are people, and people deserve to control their own bodies,” she stressed.