The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria has called for expanding family planning services provided by community pharmacists and patent medicine vendors.

It says getting access to more women to prevent unwanted pregnancies will help reduce the number of women dying from pregnancy and childbirth related complications.

Up to 60% of family planning services get to women through community pharmacists and patent medicine vendors.

The PSN in its Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PACFaH)@Scale project wants the federal health ministry to support ongoing revision of task shifting and task sharing policies to cover patent medicine vendors and community pharmacists.

“It is unacceptable  that 50% of adolescent girls in Nigeria are already mothers by the time they celebrate their 20th birthday,” said Edwin Akpotor, senior programme officer for PSN-PACFaH@Scale, in talks with Pharm Mashood Oluku Lawal, director of food and drug services at the federal health ministry.

“And the fact is over  100 women die daily in the process of giving life, 30% of which can be averted by improved access to contraceptives and increasing uptake of family planning services.”

The target for Nigeria is to have at least 27 in 100 women of reproductive age using some form of modern contraception by 2020.

A high rate of unintended pregnancies and low rate of contraceptives has been linked to a high maternal mortality rate for Nigeria—with 576 women dying in every 100,000 live births.

Nigeria is projected to be the third most populous country by 2050, if its population growth rate is not controlled.

PSN-PACFaH@Scale believes overpopulation and high maternal mortality will prevent Nigeria from reaping the dividends of demographic transition among other countries of the world.