by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
About 1.8 billion women have been estimated of reproductive age worldwide and, that daily, about 114-120 million acts of sexual intercourse take place worldwide, likely to result in 910,000 conceptions daily.
While about 213.4 million pregnancies are estimated annually, about 85 million (40 percent) of these pregnancies were unwanted or unintended, and 38 percent resulted in an unplanned birth. Out of the 213.4 million annual pregnancies, 190(89.0 percent) were in less-developed countries, while 23.4 (11.0 percent) were in more developed countries.
This was made known, while speaking at the University of Jos Inaugural Lecture Series 98 by Prof. Josiah Turi Mutihir, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, College of Health Sciences UNIJOS, and Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist for Jos University Teaching Hospital, on ‘Family Planning and Contraception, The Truth, The Whole Truth Inaugural Lecture’ on Tuesday in Jos.
According to him, there are three big sexual motives, which have been adduced, and these are: love, pleasure to feel good, recreation and procreation, while some people claimed that there is only one true reason for sex – and that is, we humans are programmed to do so.
He said, but religious, cultural, traditional, societal, personal and other stakeholders differ markedly in what are considered to be appropriate reasons for having or avoiding sex.
Prof. Mutihir said, “Sex in mankind is not only for procreation; other reasons were endowed on mankind by our Creator. It appears to be a privilege, and for every privilege there are responsibilities. My life is my responsibility, especially my sex life.
“The major responsibility, among others, is the prevention of unintended/unwanted pregnancy. Millions of babies have come into the world as un-intended, though the parents have not voiced it out.”
He stressed that, “Some parents have confessed to this as the proverbial ‘ASUU babies’ and ‘COVID-19 babies.’ How then are unintended or unwanted pregnancies prevented? They are prevented by Family Planning using natural or modern method of contraception.”
He explained that, there is a lot of confusion about Family Planning, which has evoked so much nostalgia in some people that, they have stomach upset on hearing “family planning,” “child spacing” or “contraception.”
Modern Family Planning was said to have been invented by Marie Stopes and was set up in 1936, which was initially called ‘Sex Hygiene and Birth Regulation.’ The term, “Family Planning,” was however, created in the mid-20 century with additional components, namely, sex education, the prevention and management of STIs, pre-conception counseling and management of infertility,” he disclosed.
He further explained that, Societies, Cultures, Traditions, among others, and Family Planning Contraception has always been an important part of human existence and experience, extended exclusive breastfeeding practices, abstinence as sex is thought to poison breast milk – baby fails to thrive and dies of illnesses (abstinence), wife relocates, while breastfeeding until child can survive with family food and polygamy (abstinence).
“Some of the traditional methods have put scientists to the task and they have failed. For example, the padlock-and-key, which when locked means, no pregnancy for the woman, and when opened she can conceive again. Both the padlock and the key have not been able to get into the test tube for analysis,” he said.
In Cleopatra time, women used crocodile dung, honey and sodium carbonate as spermicide. Prof. Mutihir further stated that, religion exists among societies, tradition, cultures, and these groups have inherent family planning methods within the fabric of their systems, and religion has permitted some societal methods but not others.
According to him, science has observed the gradual changes over the decades. Societal changes, issues of man/woman, one man one wife, families no diminishing land space, land mass being finite, therefore, went back to God and looked at anatomy and physiology of man and exploited this at intervention point to make an impact.
He said there are natural methods for family planning or avoiding pregnancy by observing of the natural signs and symptoms of fertile and infertile phase of the menstrual cycle, that’s is abstinence from sexual intercourse during the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle and the act of intercourse when it occurs.
Prof Josiah Turi Mutihir explained that, there are four injectables among the contraceptive, Depo provera (Meddroxy progesterone accetate), Noristerat (Norethisterone enanthate), Norigynon and Sayana Press (Sub-Q Dapo provera).
He said, there have been little changes Dapo provera is being gradually replaced by Sayana Press, while Norigynon as a combined injectable was short-lived in 2011 as acceptance by clients was poor.
He added that, the oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) are one of the oldest methods of contraception and have been in use for a very long time, noting that the major changes over time have marked reduction in the dose of the pills.
He said, about 190 million couples use surgical sterilization as reliable and safe methods of contraception.
He called on the Federal Government to initiate or review the family planning policy for the country with a blueprint for achieving the set objectives, genuine commitment be demonstrated towards achieving the FP 2030 goal.
While calling on Federal, States and Local Government administrations in the country to dedicate budget lines for Family Planning, fund it adequately, he said they should ensure the release and monitor effective utilization of the funds.
He urged all family planning counseling commodies and services to be made free and available in all primary health clinics and facilities across the country.
He also called for health and medical training for of all relevant health care providers to provide appropriate Family Planning methods so that the integration of family planning services into other health services would thus be enhanced.
The consultant urged that, the Faculty of Pharmacy University of Jos should collaborate with stakeholders or partners to look into Hormonal Research and explore the possibility of manufacture of the contraceptive commodies in the country, particularly the hormone-based methods.
He called on other private or public ventures to initiate/begin the manufacture of barrier methods and intrauterine devices in the country.