The Federal Government has recently held a high-level private sector forum in Lagos, on family planning to discuss and engage with core private sector organizations and players to ignite effective partnership and make crucial decisions on the appropriate roadmap to developing a long-term sustainability plan for greater impact on health and expanded family planning products and services in the country.

Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate con represented by the Director, Family Health in the Ministry, Dr. Stella Nwosu, in his remark said the forum is aimed at securing commitment for Family Planning (FP) by Private Sectors, present FP investment case for feedback and discuss plans towards actualizing FP2030. “It is a practical demonstration of our commitment to join ongoing efforts to promote the delivery, uptake of quality and improve access to affordable family planning services as a clear strategy for enhancing the health and overall well-being of Nigerians especially women, girls, and children.”

According to him, Nigeria is currently confronted with grave social and economic development challenges occasioned by the nation’s dwindling revenues which has become inadequate to cater for our high population of about 211 million making her the most populous in Africa and 7th in world. This is further compounded by our poor health indices including very high maternal mortality ratio of 512 deaths per 100,000 live births, a very low modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (mCPR) of 12% and an Unmet Need for Family Planning of 19% (NDHS 2018). With a total fertility rate of 5.3 and an annual growth rate of 3.2 percent, the country is projected to double her current population and become the 4th most populous country in the world by 2050.

To this end, the FMoH&SW in line with the renewed hope agenda of Mr. President, has unveiled the four-point agenda of the health sector to Improve Governance, Improve Population Health Outcome, Unlocking Healthcare Value Chain and Health Security. The Ministry has equally embarked on wide-range interventions in collaboration with stakeholders. Some of the policies and interventions include but not limited to the following: Provision of free Family Planning information, services, and commodities to Nigerians of reproductive age at all public sector health facilities in Nigeria;  Mobilization of resources from government and partners to support holistic implementation of interventions to scale-up the delivery, uptake of quality and access to affordable Family Planning services; Adoption of the Task-Shifting/Sharing Policy enabling certified Community Health Extension Workers and Strengthen stakeholders’ coordination of Family Planning interventions in Nigeria.

The above measures and others initiated by the Federal Government over the past two decades entailed huge investments of financial, human, and material resources and have resulted in significant increase in demand for family planning services and commodities. With this increase, funding requirements for procurement of contraceptives have increased and there is a need to establish more health facilities and build the capacity of service providers which come with heavy financial consequences. 

It is worthy of note that in the last five (5) years, cost of procurement has risen from USD26,685,834.33 in 2019 to USD41,852,705.15 in 2023. Over the same period, procurement funding gap has increased from USD5,794,330.95 in 2019 to USD29,054,665.15 in 2023 making it impossible to achieve full supply of family planning commodities to health facilities.

“At the just concluded 64th National Council on Health Meeting, Council approved the request for establishment and funding of Budget Lines for Family Planning at both National and Sub-National levels for the implementation of Nigeria’s Family Planning programme. However, while this is a positive step, it must be said that effectively addressing the funding and other challenges facing Nigeria’s family planning programme goes beyond the public sector. A broad-based stakeholder engagement process involving the public, social marketing as well as the private sectors is required. It is important to note that a National Guideline on Private Engagement for Family Planning has already been developed and will be a useful tool in driving this process."

Senior Special Adviser to the President on Health, Dr. Salma Anas, in her keynote address titled; Beyond Profit: Impactful Transformative Partnerships with the Private Sector on Family Planning said, “We are all aware of the unacceptable level of maternal mortality rate in Nigeria with the country currently accounting for about 20% of the global burden. Maternal mortality accounts for 59,000 deaths of women annually in Nigeria, where women are 500 times more likely to lose their lives in childbirth when compared to most advanced nations of the world.”

Dr. Anas, informed that among the many interventions, such as skilled birth attendance, access to ANC and CEmONC services, family planning is one of the most cost-effective strategies for reducing maternal mortality. Investing in family Planning alone will lead to at least a 30% decrease in maternal mortality.

The Renewed Hope Health Agenda of the Government of Nigeria is committed to ensuring that RMNCAEH+N and family planning are prioritised – ensuring that no woman or child is left behind. The Agenda has identified the role of greater involvement of the private sector in attaining government’s aspirations to ensure the attainment of universal health coverage for all Nigerians. It envisions greater private sector participation in areas such as local supply chain systems strengthening, local manufacturing of essential medicines and increasing access to health care services and utilization, including FP services. The National Private Sector Engagement Strategic Plan for Family Planning is one of the important national frameworks for achieving this objective. It allows the private sector to contribute meaningfully to the implementation of FP programs in all aspects including procurements, local manufacturing, storage and Last Mile Distribution, resource mobilization, social marketing, capacity building and innovation.

Wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr. Mrs. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Permanent Secretary Health District 6, Dr. Abimbola Mabogunje said the growing population in the nation has its attendant challenges such as increased rate of unemployment, high rate of poverty, poor access to sanitation, poor health, lack of or poor education and increased crime rates. One effective tool for tackling these problems is for families to have the number of children they can cater for.

Although government is making frantic efforts to make access to modern family planning free for women, there is need for all relevant stakeholders in the health sector to join forces with the government to chart a course towards effective funding of family planning services.

Deputy Representative UNFPA Nigeria, Mr. Koessan Kuawu, in his remarks said that Nigeria’s, maternal mortality is a major public health challenge. By reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, spacing pregnancies, empowering women to make informed decisions about their reproductive health, and improving access to quality healthcare, family planning saves lives. Unfortunately, family planning needs in Nigeria remain largely unmet with a funding gap amounting to $32 million in 2023 (need of $41,9 million against funding of $12,4 million); this results in 19% of women of reproductive age who want family planning not having access to it, according to the latest National Demographic Health survey of 2018.


“We believe that a mutually beneficial partnership with the organized private sector, clearly articulated in Nigeria’s FP2030 commitments and the National Private Sector Engagement Strategy will bring about: saving the lives of thousands of women and girls in our communities; offer opportunity and support to the private sector entities to fulfill their social responsibilities in an impactful way; operating the required paradigm shift from the perception of family planning as a health issue to the understanding that family planning is an important development agenda, an economic empowerment tools that has the potential of better positioning Nigeria as the giant that we are; providing more innovation and diversification in the National Family Planning Programme, and enhanced accountability and efficiency of the National Family Planning Programme.”

Prof. Oladipo Ladipo. RFH stressed that Nigeria needs qualitative reproduction. He said that the private sector should invest in the production of family planning commodities which can be exported to other countries. Thereby reducing the cost of procurement when compared with importing from other developed countries.

Earlier, MD/CEO, Zouera Youssoufou, Aliko Dangote Foundation in her remarks said investing in family planning is a development “best buy” that can accelerate achievements across the 5 Sustainable Development Goal themes of, People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership. “Government alone cannot solve all the problems, and we as a nation continue to rely on donor-driven intervention to address our family planning issues. There is an urgent need for us to look inward for domestic resource mobilization through private sector engagement. Improved utilization of the private sector is key to achieving universal access to a range of safe and effective modern contraceptive methods stipulated by FP2020 and SDG commitments she said.”

Also present at the forum were stakeholders from Access Holdings Plc, Zenith Bank Group, Focal Point, CHAI, Nigeria Business Coalition against AIDS, HACEY, African Business Coalition for Health, Association for Reproductive and Family Health, National Population Commission, Young Directors Forum, Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, West Africa Gas Pipeline Corporation among others.


Patricia Deworitshe

Director Media & Public Relations