States Urged To Prioritize Investment In Family Planning Program

By Celestine Okeh, Abakaliki

...As National Guidelines For State-Funded Procurement Of FP Commodities Lunched In Ebonyi

A call has gone out to States across the country to prioritize Investment In Family Planning and Contribute annually to the national basket fund so as close the current existing funding gap.

The call was made during the lunching of National guidelines for State funding Procurement of family planning commodities in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital,  noting that about N937billion  worth of Commodities has been invested in family planning commodities in Ebonyi state in the past twelve years.

Unveiling the guidelines, the wife of Ebonyi State Governor, Chief Mrs Mary Maudlin Uzoamaka Ogbonna Nwifuru represented by the wife of Chief of staff to the Governor, Dr Nkechi Echiegu, stressed the need to beharness resources from the state to reduce the funding gaps and burden for the procurement of family planning commodities, having seen the rising funding gaps in funds needed to procure family planning commodities resulting from reduction of partners contribution to the basket fund.
She called for urgent response to the availability of family planning commodities in our various health facilities and reduce family planning commodities stock out which according to her, has risen to 40% between 2021 to 2023.

She revealed that Ebonyi State has 
been supporting family planning programming and is  living no stone unturned in setting structures and investing in ensuring family planning commodities availability. "Just on the 26th of September 2023, the commissioner for health inaugurated family planning Advocacy technical working group and here we are again today to lunch the National guidelines on state funded procurement of family planning commodities. 

"This enomous  strides and the state support for capacity building among others are clear demonstration that Ebonyi state government is prepared to support and promote the family planning program in the state".

She said, though, despite the efforts of the state Government and partners in Supporting family planning program in the state, more efforts should be made to reverse her negative family planning indices, noting that the state contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) is still as low as 8% while unmet need for family planning is as high as 23%

Mrs Echiegu commended the Federal ministry of health for promoting domestic funding for family planning commodities and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for always been a worthy partner.

Earlier, the representative of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Dr Yakubu Aliyu,  said, over the years, from 2011, the federal government of Nigeria through the Federal ministry of health established a basket fund to procure family planning commodities and the basket fund is managed by UNFPA, and all donors has been putting in funds to ensure that those that need family planning commodities have it. But regretted that due to the  continued dwindling of resources over time because of competing priorities of the donors, the federal government felt that it is important to look inward to ensure that those that need family planning have access to it. And based on indices, Ebonyi State unmet need for family planning is high, the stock out is also high.

He revealed that the set out goal of the guidelines is to standardize, document and institutionalize the process of forecasting,  quantification, Procurement, warehousing, and inventory management, distribution, pipeline monitoring, service delivery and utilization of family planning commodities in the country.

According to the National guidelines fact sheet, the objective of the guidelines include the following; 

"Define state procurement 
quantification criteria and 
processes    .

"Align with existing National 
FP Supply Chain System 
(commodity flow)

"Document the mechanism to ensure procurement of quality family planning commodities.

"Define reporting line for data visibility of Commodities procured at national and state levels.

"Define the roles of States and Federal ministry of health in monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the guidelines and technical assistance from UNFPA, USAID and other partners".

It equally spelled out basic requirements and steps for State procurement to include, 
"Applying to Honourable minister of Health for permission to procure.
"State or States without existing implementing partner agreement with UNFPA should develope and sigh a tripartite MoU with UNFPA and Federal ministry of health.

"Commit dedicated budget line and ensure timely release of funds for family planning commodities procurement.

"Set aside minimum of 7% of the budget for Procurement of Commodities to be used for LMD and other related task.

"Conduct state level quantification with support from the National (bottom to top approach).
Establish a functional PSM-TWG to handle issues of the Procurement guide by the national PSM-TWG.
"Procurement of Contraceptive should align with the National quantification and supply planning exercise.

"Ensure pipeline monitoring is a routine procedure in the state that enables the state to upload information to both the NHLMIS and FP dashboard".

There were good will messages from the Commissioner for health in the state, Dr Moses Ekuma, the representative of Federal ministry of health, Mrs Patricia Isikong, representative of ALGON Ebonyi State, Mrs Chinasa Itumo, Director Public health, State ministry of health, Dr Hycient Ebenyi, coordinator for family planning in Ebonyi state, Mrs  Maria Orji Uduma among others.

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