By Amina Alhassan
The Sultan of Sokoto and Amirul Mumineen, His Eminence Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III pledged his support for child spacing at the 5th National Family Planning Stakeholders’ Consultative Meeting in Abuja yesterday.
A book, “Islamic Perspective on Reproductive Health and Child Spacing in Nigeria”, a document which includes references from the Quran and teachings of the Prophet explaining Islam’s position on family planning (FP) was also unveiled at the event.
The Emir of Tsonga, HRH Alhaji Dr Haliru Yahaya, who represented the Sultan at the meeting said that the book, personally supervised by the Sultan, was a compilation of contributions by the best Muslim clerics from all the different sects. While pointing out that the role of some religious groups in the issue of family planning has been badly represented due to miscommunication, he said that the document sums up the commitment of the Sultan about the general direction of where Islam stands on child spacing.
Meanwhile, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi reiterated his commitment to advocating for child spacing which he said he is very passionate about and an investment which all stakeholders should participate in. He called the loss of lives due to maternal and infant deaths a national disaster, likening it to deaths of future leaders who lose their lives in a plane crash.
“There is no difference between what we are here for today and that of a national disaster. You can imagine losing 110 women on a daily basis in this country.
He stressed the need to engage people in discussions about family planning.
“We should continue to sensitise the youths because it happens within that age bracket and discuss with traders, our drivers and hired domestic helps. Refer them to where they can get assistance because you will be saving lives. We should continue to invest in family planning.”
UNFPA’s FP Consultative meeting which is in collaboration with USAID has supported the Federal Ministry of Health to dialogue with stakeholders by convening the Family Planning Consultative meeting on annual basis from 2013 to date.
The 5th edition of the consultative meeting with the theme “Investing in Family Planning: Key to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria” provides an opportunity to rally stakeholders’ attention to health and non-health benefits of the national family planning program.
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