Increase In Teenage pregnancy: Delta Govt. Commends SFH for project

31

Delta Commissioner for Health, Dr Joseph Onojaeme, has lauded the Society for Family Health (SFH) on its Delivering Innovation in Self-Care (DISC) project aimed to expand access to contraceptives by women in the state.

The commissioner gave the commendation on at a one-day programme organised by the state Ministry of Health and Primary Health Care Management Board.


The programme, tagged, “DISC 1.0 State Level Project Dissemination”, was held in collaboration with SFH in Asaba.

The commissioner said the meeting was necessary to reflect on the accomplishments of the project, discuss its impact and chart a course for the future.

According to the commissioner, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Philomena Okeowo, the DISC project is funded by the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF).

“We gather today to reflect on the impactful journey of the DISC project, a transformative initiative spearheaded by the Society for Family Health.

“Society for Family Health has been a long-standing partner to the state, having significantly contributed to the health indices of Delta.

“Over the past two years, the DISC project has been a beacon of hope and progress in Delta, championing the utilization of Sayana Press subcutaneous contraception to empower individuals and communities towards better reproductive health outcomes,” Onojaeme said.

He noted that the project had touched lives and left an enduring legacy of collaboration and commitment that had defined a journey.

“Through innovative approaches and dedicated efforts, the DISC project has expanded access to contraception and also empowered women and families to make informed choices about their reproductive health, thereby, fostering a brighter, healthier future for our communities.

“While we reflect on the successes of the DISC project, let us also acknowledge the challenges encountered and the lessons learned along the way.

“Our collective experiences, insights, and feedback will serve as invaluable resources as we continue to navigate the complexities of reproductive health programming and strive to address the evolving needs of our population.

“Moving forward, let us remain steadfast in our commitment to structures built by the state, which were supported wholeheartedly by the DISC project, leveraging its successes and insights to inform future interventions and initiatives.


“Together, let us rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of equitable access to reproductive health services, with particular emphasis on self-care, ensuring that every individual can exercise their reproductive rights and live healthy, fulfilling lives,” said the commissioner.

In her welcome remarks, Okeowo, represented by Dr Chris Iwegbu, a director in the ministry, said the event was another milestone in the fight to empower women of reproductive age to make the right decisions.

“It is a fight to ensure every woman of reproductive age in Delta, especially in the sub-served communities has a right to contraception and a healthy reproductive life.

“Our collaboration with the Society for Family Health on the DISC project has been instrumental in advancing Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare services in our state.

“The DISC project, funded by CIFF, has been a beacon of innovation and dedication over the past five years, empowering women to take control of their Sexual and Reproductive Health needs through self-care, particularly focusing on DMPA-SC self-injection.

” The achievements we’ve made together, from service delivery to data quality assessment, are a testament to our shared commitment to improving healthcare outcomes for our communities,” Okeowo said.

Dr Faith Ireye, World Health Organisation (WHO) Coordinator in Delta, called on the state government and other stakeholders to address the increasing cases of adolescent pregnancy among the girl-child to reduce the trend.

Ireye says pregnancy in adolescents, especially within the 14 and 19 age bracket in Delta, is worrisome.

According to her, adolescent pregnancy has to be taken care of because currently, four per cent of pregnancies in the state occur among adolescents.

She said it was high time the government took a firm decision in the area by way of educating the girl-child to reduce adolescent pregnancy to the barest minimum.

“If they have information, and are well guarded with the information at their disposal, it will be possible to crash teenage pregnancy below four per cent,” she said.

Also, the Deputy Team Lead, DISC Project, SFH, Mopelola Raji, said the project was aimed at changing the way self-care contraception was perceived.

According to her, the DISC project is a four-year project funded by CIFF and implemented by Population Services International and SFH.

“So, we have what we call DMPA-SC Self-Injection, our unique product; it helps the woman to amplify her voice and also promotes autonomy for the woman to be able to decide what works for her.

“So, we have an innovation called the ‘Empathy Based Training’ where we train the providers to have the competence and increased capacity to coach women to successfully self-inject themselves,” she said.

According to her, Delta is one of the 12 states the SFH has impacted.

She said the state had provided the enabling environment for the project to deliver another option for the women from the arrays of family planning options.

“When we came to Delta it was about a nine per cent adoption rate but as of today, the self-injection rate is now about 80 per cent.

“We started the project in Delta in July 2022 and now, we have done 21 months today, so, we are disseminating from the state, but intervention continues,” she said.

Also, Dr Frances Weyinmi, Delta Reproductive Health Coordinator, said that with support from SFH, the state achieved a great feat by emerging first among the states in convention rate.

She said that more women had accepted the option of contraceptives in the state compared to the nine per cent rate of acceptance four years ago.

According to Weyinmi, the achievement was due to teamwork as the training was cascaded in over 460 facilities in the state to cover every service provider across the board.