Experts in Reproductive Health and Family Planning have advised sexually active adolescents to take up family planning to prevent unwanted pregnancies, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases and death.
The experts, who stated this during an interview with a media team on Reproductive Health in Asaba, Delta, said such illicit affairs often resulted in giving birth to children that were not cared for.
They said the call had become necessary to curb the increasing rate of abortion, and pregnancy related deaths among young and unmarried adolescents in the society today.
They noted that prevention was better than cure, particularly when the young adults had been sexually exposed, it would do the society no good to pretend about this but seek solution.
According to Mrs Gullian Ogude, Chief Nursing Officer, family planning programme is moving well in Akwuebulu Primary Healthcare Center (PHC) as average of 10 persons take up the programme in one month.
She confirmed that the center had all the consumables for the programme in place, adding that requisitions were made to fill any noticed shortfalls in stock almost immediately from the state government.
“We have not really seen the youths coming to take up the programme except for the married and those within the child bearing stage are utilizing the programme.
“For the adolescents, since they are sexually active, my advise for them is that this facility is here for their use, and the commodity is always available and they are free.
“The youths should come out, speak out and we know how to counsel them, so that issues of unwanted pregnancies, contracting STDs and death through abortion can be avoided.
“At this stage, because they are sexually active, it is counseling that they need because they are already exposed,” Ogude said.
Also, Mrs Mary-Ann Okwuechimeh, Chief Nursing Officer, Okwe PHC, said that the responses received, showed that people had become more aware of the programme.
“People are now more aware of family planning in the area, before now, we beg them to come but now they come on their own and I believe this is because the economy is changing and as such many people do not wish to increase their family size.
“Most women have taken their destiny in their hand, as many of them don’t come with their husbands but may have their consent.
“Now, our monthly up takers have increased to 15 unlike before when we have two to three persons in a month coming for family planning here,” Okwuechimeh said.
On her part, Mrs Odegala Eseoghene, Reproductive Health Supervisor, Oshimili South Council Area, said that family planning uptakes had continued in the council area before, during and now that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic lock down had eased.
She said though the facilities ran out of consumables during the heat of the lockdown, but were subsequently replenished by the state government as the lockdown was relaxed.
She disclosed that the facilities also received supply of consumables from the Federal Government.
“We have presently submitted a requisition form to replenish the consumables that have ran out these period and hopefully we shall receive stock before the end of next week.
“We work in such a way that we do not run out of consumables as we move them from facilities where we have surplus to areas of need to bridge gaps,”Eseoghene said.
On the use of condoms, Eseoghene said men shy away from taking up condoms, “and because they don’t accept it, what we do is to give to the mothers, precisely, ”the female condoms” and teach them how to use it.
“I hardly get adolescents in my facility, we have been thought to give them privacy but because of stigmatization, they don’t come to take a method of family planning.
“For the youths and those who are not ready for pregnancy now, should take up a family planning method; we have methods for both male and female, for adolescents and the youths,” she said.