As part of the effort to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) in Nigeria, the Cross River State Ministry of Health (CRSMOH) recently conducted an orientation for health workers on the need to encourage women adoption of National Self-care/Self-injection plan.
The training in Uyo, Cross River state was facilitated with technical support from the Federal Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners. The main objective was to strengthen access to self-care/self-injection innovation in Nigeria and to educate frontline health care workers on the self-care guidelines for sexual reproductive health. Emphasis was on the scale-up of Depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA-SC) self-injection.
Nigeria, in November 2016, approved injectable contraceptives for self-injection by users hoping that it would improve access to family planning services, especially in hard to reach places. However, the uptake of family planning services in Nigeria is still low, as analysis from the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey shows that 19% of married women have an unmet need for family planning: 12% want to delay childbearing, while 7% want to stop childbearing.
Speaking to participants, Dr David E. Ushie the Special Adviser to the Governor on Health said that, while the training addressed the needs of women, Cross River State would strive to improve the levels of awareness and utilization of available interventions on reproductive health.
The state is committed to creating an enabling environment in terms of the need for proper regulation and the orientation of our healthcare providers and the end-users
“The state is committed to creating an enabling environment in terms of the need for proper regulation and the orientation of our healthcare providers and the end-users to promote the guidelines on Self-Care. The concept and implementation of DMPA-SC would provide more family planning options for women in the reproductive age group and their partners in the public and private sectors across the 18 LGAs in the state”, he said.
A confident Mrs Chisom Emeka of WHO Nigeria, who was also at the training noted that “This orientation will improve access and uptake of DMPA-SC- a self-injection contraceptive and improve the lives of many women who want to avoid pregnancy in Cross River state. It would also reduce infant and maternal mortality rates in the country”, she added.
Following the training, Mrs Eko Idam Edodi, a 34-year-old health care worker at Primary Healthcare Centre in Biase local government area (LGA) stressed that she is now equipped with information on self-injection which she will use to mobilize other women in her locality to embrace the highly beneficial practice.
“With this knowledge about DMPA-SC self-injection, I will support women to make informed and positive decisions about their reproductive health. Also, it will give women of childbearing age the opportunity to make reproductive health choices for themselves.
The use of self-injection is cost-effective, promote privacy, saves time, reduce unintended pregnancies/abortions. It will also allow women to space childbirth and give their children the maximum attention and care they need”, she concluded.
Self-injected contraception is an innovative practice in family planning that is transforming contraceptive access and use. The new self-injectable contraceptive – DMPA-SC, allows women to inject themselves at the comfort of their homes and provides three months of protection. It would make contraceptive use affordable, accessible, and preserve the confidentiality of those using it. These would reduce morbidity in women and children as well as promote timely self-intervention.