Zainab Tanimu-Kaduna, NIGERIA

Sayana press injection is a method whereby an individual woman both literate and non-literate can inject themselves for the purpose of spacing their children. This can also be used as preventive measure for unwanted pregnancy.  So far, the program has been introduced in 7 states of which Kaduna state is said to have recorded the highest turn-out of client acceptance in the 4 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of its pilot project.  Namely, Kaduna North, Kaduna South,  Igabi and Chukun local government area.  This reason is why the state has become the focus point of the project.

This was disclosed by the National president, Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria (PPFN)  Hajiya  Aishatu Lawal while fielding questions from journalists  after the closing ceremony of its stakeholders review meeting  of  2017 Sayana Press Family Planning injectable method Pilot Program. The program which was held at SANAB Hotel Kaduna was to among others chart a new course for the sustainability of the project. The devise she said targets women under productive age.

“Sayana Press is a very simply and easy method to be used by any woman. Uneducated women can inject themselves at home. It would reduce those ups and downs of going to facilities, spending their money for transport and seeking husbands’ permission each time they want to go to the centers. All these are made easy with the Sayana Press Injection because after being taught, the woman can inject herself right there at home”.

The National President had expressed worries over some families especially, in the part of the North who still believes that family planning is harmful to a woman. These beliefs and norms associated with family planning she has attributed to ignorance on the part of the people saying, such should be disregarded for the safety and healthy living of mothers who lose their lives in the course of delivery.

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She assured that family planning cannot stop any mother or father from having as many babies as they want. Child spacing practice will only allow breastfeeding mothers’ ‘body rest’. Breastfeeding the baby for the period of two years before having another will lessen complications and death. She added.

Explaining further, she said the religion Islam never frowns at family planning but rather a misunderstanding of the concept by the people.

“Before, we had a serious challenge on the issue of family planning with our men because then, a woman cannot go and ask for these services without her husband’s consent but now things have changed. Even the Quran provides for prolong breastfeeding. Prolong breastfeeding can prevent one from being pregnant.  All we are saying is that we want women to breastfeed their babies for two years. After 2yrs, you can take off but most women today give birth before their baby clocks a year. This could lead to complications and might result to death”.

The Director of Public Health Services Kaduna State Ministry of Health, Dr. Ado Zakari disclosed that the State’s maternal mortality death rate has reduced through the use of child spacing method to two-hundred-and-eighty.

The data according to him was a study conducted and confirmed by a pilot project done by Clinton Health Initiative on Community Health Management Information System in ten Local Government Areas of the State where the community members  themselves took the data of all women that died during child birth or during pregnancy.

With the survey, the ministry he said was able to have an insight as to what level of maternal death the state had recorded. It was able to compare it with what the state had before and noted that the deaths rate had dropped drastically. Kaduna now has a low maternal death rate compared with Southern part of the country.

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“Sayana Press method has been piloted for one year in Kaduna State by PPFN and during the time over 4,000 end-users has access the method and use it with high degree of success” he noted.

Dr. Zakari also explained that the State Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) which was 20% before has risen to 24% which is higher than the National Average.

“We are hoping, based on the cost Implementation Plan (CIP), we intend to achieve 42% of CPR and the effective child spacing can reduce maternal mortality by 33%, so if the state can effectively implement child spacing, then we would have more drop in maternal mortality rate”. He said.

In his own contribution, the PPFN Director of Programmes,  DR. Okai Haruna Aku, had described the method as the surest way to managing the population. Being an intervention directed to those living at the ‘hard reach areas’ of the state, the likely challenges he said would be in the areas of funding, future availability, accessibility and getting Sayana Press to the end-users. Reason being that the child spacing method is different as such would take time before it gets to the list of essential drugs.

Also commenting, the Reproductive Health Co-ordinator at the Kaduna State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Mrs. Cecelia Makus said it has been ascertained that through the use of family planning, about 240 maternal death would be averted, 300 unwanted pregnancy would be prevented while the quality of life of individuals would improve.

This she said had been the reason why Kaduna State encouraged the practice of family planning saying, necessary machineries have been put in place to keep it alive while she assured continuous collaboration with all the stakeholders for sustainability of the project.

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“It has been discussed that those facilities that did not have the opportunity to be trained during the pilot project will be trained and to ensure that those that have been trained step down the training in their various facilities so that all of them would be aware and jointly, they would be able to deliver the services.

She stated that already ,the Agency have brought the remaining Sayana Press in their disposal. Everything has been documented and will continue with the distribution to both facility and to the monthly outreach services that are being conducted in different local government councils of the state.

“We got assurance from the PPFN that they still have the commodities in their care so we would request as soon as our commodities are getting out of stock”.

In his commendation, the Chairman, Volunteer State Co-coordinator of PPFN, Alhaji Kabir Ibrahim described the program as a great success. About 400 Community Based Distributors (CBD) and more than 500 Community Health Extension Workers he explained have been trained across the 4 LGAs of the project in Kaduna state. He expressed the need for government’s continuous collaboration with the UNPA in sustaining the project and hoping that the state government implements it at its level.