Nigeria: National Health Dialogue - Contraceptives Do Not Cause Cancer - - Expert

A panel discussion at the National Health Dialogue
17 October 2019

The Director of family health, Federal Ministry of Health, Adebimpe Adebiyi, has said family planning or the use of contraceptives do not cause cancer.

Mrs Adebiyi disclosed this in Abuja on Wednesday at the National Health Dialogue organised by PREMIUM TIMES.

The two-day event themed "Universal Health Coverage" - The Role of State and Non-State Actors in Healthcare Funding and Support", is organised in partnership with the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), the Project for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PACFaH@Scale), the Project Pink Blue and the Nigerian Governors' Forum (NGF).

Mrs Adebiyi who was responding to one of the questions after a panel discussion on gender access to healthcare in Nigeria, said youth and women within the reproductive age "have little or nothing to fear about the use of contraceptives for the prevention of pregnancy or child spacing".

A participant has raised the question about the "myths of contraceptives as causal agents for cancer".

Mrs Adebiyi said there has been no evidence that contraceptives cause cancer.

She explained that women are not to be placed on any contraceptive methods without going through proper tests by medical experts to ascertain the method which will be suitable for them.

She also debunked the claims that there were some religions that do not support the use of contraceptives.

Mrs Adebiyi said both the Islamic and Christian regulatory bodies support the use of contraceptives for child spacing.

She said the government had taken its time to study and put into consideration the Islamic perspective of family planning in Nigeria as well as those of the Christian faith.

She said the document on the Islamic perspective of family planning was developed by the ministry in collaboration with the Sultan of Sokoto and other Islamic clerics

"The policy was duly signed by the Sultan of Sokoto in collaboration with Islamic clerics and they know what the Quran and Holy Books say about it. Also from the Christian perspective, we have the family planning policy signed by the president of the Christian association (CAN). So there is nobody to say your religion is against family planning except you just want to play pranks," he said.

In an earlier discussion, the head of the department of planning research and statistics, Ministry of health, Emmanuel Meribole, had said that one of the free services women in reproductive age can access through the healthcare funding in the country is family planning.

Mr Meribole said family planning services have been made free in all government hospitals so as to cater for the reproductive population of the country.

Mr Meribole, while responding to the question after a panel session powered by DRPC PACFaH, said the youth are also captured to benefit from the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF)

The theme for the panel was financing universal healthcare in Africa, Nigeria's comparative experience.

He said the scheme is meant to be enjoyed by everyone, especially the youth within the reproductive ages of 15 to 49 who would be having free access to family planning services in all government hospitals.

Mr Meribole said the government is planning "not to leave anyone behind while executing the BHCPF as universal health coverage is a global agenda".

He explained that the 1 per cent consolidated fund is an additional funding mechanism that the government introduced "beside the normal budgetary allocation to be sure that the country has the fiscal wherewithal to be able to move the sector forward".

"We have a programme called the basic healthcare provision fund programme, and that's where the 1 per cent is going to," he said. "In talking about the National Health Act provision, it is not only talking about the 1 per cent, but it also talks about money from other sources from international health partners and the private sector. What we are trying to do is to capture the very poor, the vulnerable and move from there to capture everybody."

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