Mark Lowcock (Perm. Sec. DFID) and Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin (United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNFPA)

The Permanent Secretary of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID), Mr. Mark Lowcock will be arriving Nigeria today, accompanied by Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), on a working visit aimed at renewing and enhancing their support for voluntary family planning.

This is contained in a press release from the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA signed by Kori Habib.

According to the statement, “despite various family planning programming efforts in Nigeria, its contraceptive prevalence rate has been static since 2008 and hovers around 10 per cent, alarming partners, donors and the Government”.

The statement also revealed that the current funding landscape indicates that DfID contributes about 50-60 per cent of total funding for contraceptives in the public health sector through UNFPA and on the other hand the Government’s Cash Counterpart Contribution has been inconsistent since 2013. With this, it is observed that by 2017, there may be bigger funding gap for contraceptives, especially since Nigeria is expected to increase CPR to 36% by 2018.

On arrival, the two international development leaders will meet with Nigeria’s Vice–President, Yemi Osinbajo, to enhance cooperation. They are also scheduled to meet with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Health, Finance, Budget and National Planning, and of the Federal Capital Territory.

Lowcock and Osotimehin, according to the press statement, will in the course of their meetings with high-level representatives of the Government, donors and partners, such as the European Union and the World Bank, advocate for more sustainable funding for contraceptives procurement and investments in health workers.

Thereafter, they will visit the General Hospital Maitama, Abuja, and FCT Area 2 clinic and will also visit an adolescent girls’ programme to exchange views with young people.

The visit will end with a special interactive session of the duo with the media to solicit for adequate and proper coverage of family planning and adolescent programs in the country.

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