Number Changes a Whole Lot – Why Population is Important #WPD #Nigeria

Number indeed changes a whole lot of things. To understand what I mean, I will use these illustrations:

1) If you have 25 people sitting in an 18 seat Bus that is called overloading. Continuous overloading of the same bus by the driver will eventually cause quick wear and tear problem. Seats in the bus will quickly get worn out and tear, the engine and other parts of the vehicle will soon give way under the pressure of carrying more than it can bear. Overloading will also slow down the car such that it cannot move at its maximum speed. If the driver decides to over speed with too many passengers or load in the bus an accident may occur.
2) In order for a company or organization to thrive and prosper the owner(s) must plan for the number of employees, they will need to engage their services. Such plans will include how much goes for salaries; office spaces to be provided, health insurance, housing, and other benefits to motivate staff; parking space and more. No wonder then that when a company is not doing well financially or becomes less productive staff is downsized. This, of course, leaves a number of people out of job. So many companies try to work within a budget and with the number of employees they can cope with.
3) In the instance of a country, a census is carried out to determine the number of her citizens in order to be able to budget, plan and allocate resources to make life easy for members of the society.

If the above illustrations are true why then do we think that A population is just a number and nothing more?!

The population (number of people) in a family, community, village, office, country matters. Why? Because population or our number determines how and whether we will enjoy our resources and live comfortably well at least to a reasonable extent. Our number determines the number of basic amenities be provided such as houses, roads and other infrastructure. It also determines the amount of food that is needed to feed everyone or else people will starve. The more the number, the more investments to be made in various sectors such as agriculture, education/schools, health care, social welfare, jobs etc. The cost of governance goes up with increasing population.

The point of population stabilization is to reduce or minimize misery – Roger Bengston

As we celebrate another world population day come 11th July 2017, let us take seriously the issue of our growing number. According to the report of the United Nation’s 2017 Revision of World Population Prospects, Nigeria is projected to overtake the United States in population by 2050. To get a clear picture check out this calculation:

The US has 50 states and its population is currently about 326 million and projects 402million by 2050. Nigeria with 36 states is estimated to be about 182million currently. If we are to overtake the US by 2050 it means we would have grown by more than 220million in 33years while the US will have grown by just 76million.

This means that we are growing at the speed of a jet as a DEVELOPING NATION WITH SO MUCH WE ARE DEALING WITH! Can you imagine what will happen then judging by our numerous existing problems highlighted below?!
Wake up, people!
Wake up Nigeria!

The national budget of Nigeria for 2017 sums up to about N7.44trillion still many people live below the international poverty line of 1.90 dollar a day. Salaries are owed workers in many states; health facilities are ill-equipped to cater for our beaming population. There are no chairs and tables to give students an enabling environment to learn in our public schools; lecturers in higher institutions are more on strike than in school because they want to be better enumerated and also demand that world class facilities be provided in their institutions. Students also go on protests over demands for more hostels and classrooms to be built, hike in school fees. Many young people graduate every year than the labor market can handle. Our aging population is increasing every year as life expectancy is now improved. There are more dependants than the working class/those contributing to the economy. The government still has no serious welfare plan in place for any group of its vulnerable citizens.

The list of issues and problems facing us as a nation are endless. Are we going to keep pretending that these problems do not exist or handle them with kid glove?

It is time to pay attention to how to begin to solve these problems and reduce the cost of governance. It is time to plan for our collective future as a people.

We need to have a culture of working with numbers and planning ahead.

This year’s theme for the World Population Day:

Family  Planning, Birth Spacing: Empowering & developing nations.

“Family Planning and Child Birth Spacing are personal decisions but their profound implications on the health, economic and social well-being of the society are far reaching”. Chief Eze Duruiheoma, SAN – Chairman National Population Commission Nigeria.

We can have a better and great country if we seriously pay attention and act now to make life better for Nigerians. Government need to invest rightly and wisely.

People need to make informed choices to live a better and meaningful life.

Adebisi Adetunji(C)

PRESS RELEASE: “IRETI EDA” Radio Program Returns: Weekly Program to Air in Oyo State

The “Get It Together” Campaign, led by the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative 2 (NURHI 2), will launch 26 new episodes of their weekly radio program – Ireti Eda – during the week of July 14, 2017.

The new episodes of Ireti Eda in Oyo continue the captivating drama it was known for intermixed with real-life testimonials from community leaders, health service providers, and program listeners. This combination of entertaining and educational content encourages all Nigerians and Oyo people, in particular, to KNOW the facts about family planning, TALK to their partner, and GO for family planning services – the key message of NURHI 2’s Get It Together campaign.

“I like the radio program, Ireti Eda, because it educates us on Family Planning, especially through the drama characters, highlighting the need, importance, and methods of Family Planning. I do not miss any episode as I have learned a lot from the expert that answers questions also, as some of the things they said are things I have experienced as a woman. The program is very good and It it should be continued.Bunmi.

As in the previous three seasons, this radio program will feature the latest jams, real-life stories from satisfied family planning users, and the chance to win the weekly prize, which will be N1,000 recharge cards. The programs will also offer listeners the opportunity to call-in and speak directly with family planning experts, who answer their questions live on-air.

Dr. Mojisola Odeku, NURHI 2 Portfolio Director said “Listeners are hooked on the programs’ serial dramas and know they can trust the project to provide factual and accurate health information. Fans can even call-in to the program to have their questions answered by family planning experts, one of the more popular features.”

The new episodes of Ireti Eda radio program build on the success of the first seasons, NURHI 1’s popular radio programs, and the campaign’s 2016 hit song “Get It Together,” featuring Paul ‘P Square’ Okoye and Tiwa Savage. At the same time, NURHI 2 has helped establish a network of trained health providers offering friendly and confidential family planning services. NURHI 2 locations can be recognized by the blue, yellow and orange puzzle piece logo with signs that say ‘FP services available here.’

The new episodes’ premiere dates, radio stations, and broadcast times are as follows:

Oyo:
Splash 105.5FM: Fridays 3-4pm (Start date: July 14)
Amuludun 99.1FM: Mondays 3-4pm (Start Date: July 17)

Radio listeners can join in the conversation and see what other fans are saying on Get It Together’s official Facebook page: @getittogetherng

For more information please visit http://www.nurhitoolkit.org, send an email to info@nurhi.org or call Toyeke on 0905-261-5272.

About the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative 2 (NURHI 2):

The Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative 2 (NURHI 2) funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation/T. J. Mather is using communication to increase demand for family planning among men and women. It is led by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (JHCCP) in partnership with the Center for Communication Programs Nigeria (CCPN).

Published as released by NURHI

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Safe Motherhood #5: A disturbing trend.

A couple already has 5 male children and they arrived at this number because of the desire to have a female child. Nothing wrong with wanting to have both genders but many times things do not work out the way we plan. This woman gets pregnant again and the family is excited and hoped that they will eventually have their much-desired girl child. By the way, it is nice to see a turnaround in the cultural belief that only male children are important in a family.

Back to my story, it turns out that this couple had a double blessing for their long wait. A set of twin baby girls arrived into their lives. They were ecstatic but soon the mother began to bleed after the delivery of the children. Some of her placentae remained in her which caused bleeding. She was eventually referred on emergency to a tertiary hospital for special care. It took a lot to stop the bleeding and save this woman’s life.

Seriously why do we keep endangering our lives as women?  And there are men who insist on having more children when their wives have health challenges or difficult birth experiences… I ask …

Do you want a living wife or a dead one who will leave you to struggle to care for the many children you so desired at the expense of her life and wellbeing?

If God gives you only girls be contended. If it is boys be satisfied too. Have you thought about couples who would give anything to have just one child? I have family friends who insist that they want a certain number of children and it doesn’t matter which sex they are blessed with their decision remains.

Now the couple in my story have seven children…hen! All in the name of having a particular gender as a child. Please be grateful and contented and take care of your children no matter which gender they are.

Hemorrhage or bleeding is one of the leading causes of maternal death. It can occur before, during and after delivery. One cause of bleeding is when the uterus does not contract quickly enough after birth. Having multiple births in quick succession enlarges the uterus. This reproductive female organ is described to be like a balloon and many births cause the uterus to keep expanding and may just “burst” figuratively speaking. This means that the mouth of the womb/cervix may not close up as it should which causes bleeding that can lead to death when next such a woman is having another baby.

It is important for mothers to rest well in between births and equally avoid undergoing too many births than their health can withstand. So encourage and advice your friend, family and those who work for you doing menial jobs to take things easy and plan their babies and also be satisfied with whatever gender they have.

If you are wondering how to prevent unplanned pregnancy visit any family planning clinic or hospital nearest to you to discuss your options. I know that primary health centers also provide these services for a token.

Family Planning reduces maternal mortality by 40%

Adebisi Adetunji ©

One Way to End the Circle of Poverty for Families

NURHI mobilizer in Ibadan engaging two women and their children about FP.

Low-income earners like market women, Okada riders, taxi drivers, Vulcanizers, cleaners and so on have more children than they can cater for.

A typical Okada rider used to transport passengers

Not too long ago an Okada man picked me up while on my way to the office. We got talking about the economy and how life can be difficult. I asked him about his family and he said that he had two wives and 7 children or more …I can’t really remember the number now. I didn’t want to alarm him but I quickly calculated how much he earns doing his Okada business.

It will not be enough to care for his large family. I then asked him about whether his children were enrolled in a school at least a government school. Well, he said he was trying his best to send them to school.

I shook my head and wondered if the circle of poverty will ever end in his family. If he can’t equip his children with the required skill and education to put them on a better pedestal in life then they all remain a struggling poor generation. This should not be so and can be stopped.

Do you know that those in the upper class and even middle class have fewer children? Imagine a man/woman is a multi-billion naira/dollar business owner and has only two children or four. These children will have more money than they can spend and if they are properly groomed and disciplined they will keep multiplying that money!

The Way Forward
I will say, educate as many people as you can about the need to raise a family commensurate to their income and ability. I have people who work for me like my housekeeper, and I also meet others like our mechanic, petty trade shop owner on my street. Hopefully, I can keep educating them about this “suicide” mission of having a large family with little or no money.

One way to end the circle of poverty among low income earners is to educate them about benefits of planning their families and having only the number of children they can cater for.

In my experience some of these people don’t know that they have a choice in the matter; they don’t know that there is something they can do about it.

Benefits of FP
• Mothers can rest between births and therefore are healthier
• Children born can receive proper care and nutrition while they develop. It is difficult taking care of a 3 months old baby when the mother becomes pregnant too soon.
• Income can be managed better with fewer mouths to feed
• Children can go to school and attain higher education.
• Fathers and mothers can have less stress in managing the resources of their family.
• Fewer fights in the family when the resources can go round.

Adebisi Adetunji ©

Cries in the Cold Rain…

There was no warm blanket
No warm and loving hands to hold
No soothing voice
Her cries almost blocked her lungs
She was breathless, so cold

It was a wet day, no shelter
Her mother hurriedly dropped her in a dark corner
the rain continued to pour on
There she lay on a cold hard ground in the dirt

She cried even louder still stained with blood from the womb
Suddenly a shadow stood over her, a rough trembling hand picked her up

A warm cloth, not a blanket wrapped around her
This hand held her tightly to her chest and for the first time she felt the flesh of another human
A good Samaritan found her

Instead of giving birth to a baby that you will throw away use a condom.
Instead of snuffing out life from such innocence use a contraceptive pill.

Instead of dumping your baby give him/her up for adoption. Someone out there is willing to love and nurture that child. 

This poem is dedicated to all babies dumped in unthinkable places after being delivered by mothers who were not prepared and never wanted them.

Photo Credit: Original picture from Flicker

Adebisi Adetunji(C)

SPITFIRE Advocacy Skills Training for Media in Oyo State

When I first heard of the catch phrase “Spitfire”, I thought in Pidgin language…”Wetin this one mean now”? Analysing it further I came to the conclusion that it possibly means reinforcement and persistently talking about an important social issue or whatever issue. In this case spacing births in order to save lives, improve on the quality of lives of citizens and of course making governance easier for government.

I have been part of the Spitfire Advocacy training on how to effectively share family planning stories organized by DEVCOMS and NURHI holding in Ibadan, Oyo State.

As the training began it became clear what Spitfire Advocacy means. It is a tool for helping non-profit organizations develop high impact and effective persuasive communication. It is a Smart Chart for communications and the latest version is known as Chart 3.0

In advocacy efforts the Spitfire tool can be used at different levels of creating awareness and making impact about an issue. Some of these stages include:
1) Just starting a communication process: This is the planning stage where you determine your message; goals and objectives and what you intend to achieve.
2) Building on a campaign that is already on-going
3) Reviewing and wanting to scale up on an already executed project.

Spitfire is also a more effective strategic communication advocacy tool. It helps organizations and individuals who are change agents to make decisions that will produce high result. Read more about The Spitfire Strategies Smart Chart 3.0, a highly effective communication tool.

Why  the media is important here: Because it has the capacity to educate the public. The media is a potent force that can cause change positively or negatively.

Spitfire strategies helps you make:
Specific
Measurable
Actionable/Attainable
Realistic
Time Bound

Set SMART goals, decisions in achieving a change.

I learned that nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it. Team work and coalitions makes pursuing and achieving success at an idea more effective. As you can see in this photo

A group of participants in a tight interlocked hand holding exercise. Lots of laughter 😂😂😂 as they tried to untangle while still holding each others hands to form a circle. It looked unachievable at first but we ended up unraveling the mystery 😀😀😂

Facilitators at the training:
Mrs Stella Akinso – State Team Lead, Oyo (NURHI)
Mallam Kabir. M. Abdullahi – State Team Leader, Kaduna(NURHI)
Mr Samuel Rapheal – Senior Program officer, Advocacy & Demand generation (NURHI)

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Safe Motherhood #4 – My Personal Eventful Birth Experience Prt 2

Catch up on  my previous post, Safe Motherhood #3 – My Eventful Birth Story part 1

I woke up in the early hours of the day I would eventually deliver my baby to go to the toilet. I discovered that I was already wet, wet with a lot of blood. It was kind of scary but I thought it was the blood show that sometimes occurs as a prelude to labor pains in some pregnant women. How naïve I was if only I had known what that meant but not knowing kept me from panicking. I had to change my sanitary towel like twice before day break. When we saw how heavy the blood flow was, my husband and I knelt down beside our bed and prayed not knowing what lay ahead. We simply had faith that God will take control beyond our understanding of what was happening. I didn’t get much sleep so I had my bath and as soon as it was 6 am off we went to the home of a family friend who was a doctor and lived in our neighborhood.

When we shared what had been happening with him he simply said he would immediately take me to the hospital in a very unsuspecting doctor’s way of treating an emergency in a not alarming way. We had no idea that it was a serious thing. It was only after a series of scan tests and then my consultant was called to attend to me on a Sunday that I realize something serious was up. He came in right from attending church service.

I was still puzzled by all the back and forth going from the hospital ward to the scan room severally. Finally, my consultant said, “Madam we are going to do a caesarean section in order to save the life of you and your baby”. I took a heavy breath and became really afraid of going to the theater to deliver my baby that in the given circumstance I had no choice.

I was wheeled into the theater and I woke up two weeks after delivery of my baby. I do remember trying to wake up from the anesthesia effect but that was all I can remember. Much of what happened afterward was narrated to me by my husband.

The surgery was successful and my baby was alive only he was underweight. And because I couldn’t breastfeed him since I was really sick myself, he was admitted to the special baby care unit.
Why did I need a caesarean section? What was the cause of the bleeding? I was told that I had Placenta Previa (When the placenta detaches from the uterine wall and bleeding occurs).

mumjunction.com

After delivery of my baby, I had eclampsia (Pregnancy induced high blood pressure that leads to seizure). Usually, a woman can experience preeclampsia during pregnancy which later leads to eclampsia. This characterized by swollen feet, high blood pressure. However, these signs did not present itself in the last trimester of my pregnancy. Unfortunately, my B.P went up after the CS that resulted in a seizure. All these I didn’t know and do not have a memory of. My husband prayed hard that I would survive and my doctors did their best to stabilize me.

After coming around two weeks after delivery, I still was very weak and needed some time to recuperate. Mostly my body had been starved of proper nutrition through pregnancy and I didn’t have enough stamina to even breastfeed. I was not to be discharged for another week and a half. My baby’s naming ceremony held one month after delivery!!

The two major birth complications that occurred (Placenta Previa & Pre-eclampsia) during the delivery of my baby are factors that have been the cause of many maternal deaths. I do not take lightly the blessing and mercy of been alive to tell my story and possibly help as many women from being endangered in such a way.

What Saved Me:

Registering for antenatal and delivering at an equipped hospital with trained health personnel went a long way in prompt attendance to my emergency. Imagine if I had gone to give birth at a mission house or with a local mid – wife where they are ill equipped to manage my kind of emergency. It would have been a different story.

Lessons
• My body was severely malnourished and starved of the required nutrient needed to carry a baby. Therefore the after effect of my falling ill after delivery. Even after being discharged from the hospital I needed to really feed and rest well before I regained my strength and weight again (Though I am naturally a slim person).

Ignorance is no excuse to dare consequences of not knowing what you should know. Please get registered for antenatal quickly as soon as you discover you are pregnant.

Read books on what expectant mothers should do in order to have a healthy baby and be healthy themselves.
Measures that helped me relax in between births

Managing after effects of my  birth complication and Resting Well

I was advised to go for family planning in order to prevent me from getting pregnant too soon. My body was not ready for another pressure of carrying a baby.
It also afforded me the time needed to heal properly.

Three years down the line I became pregnant and this time I was ready. I even began to take folic acid and B-complex to boost my multivitamin level. I had learned my lessons and today I can sing this song:

I’m Alive today because God kept me…

Thanks to all my doctors and nurses who took care of me at that very trying period in my life and that of my family.

Photo Credit: mumjunction.com

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Guest Interview : Toyin Odedele-Odugbesan (WhatsupIbadan) / CEO Geomeridien

At an on-going training for Social Media Bloggers on Effective Family Planning Projection organized by DEVCOMS NETWORK, I met this fantastic Lady doing great things.

Her story is real, funny and inspiring for every woman out there and even men.

I will sum up her story with these words:

Where you think there is nothing, therein lies your future

Toyin Odedele-Odugbesan is the co-founder of a blog platform named: WhatsupIbadan where she works alongside her husband as Marketing manager. Toyin is also the CEO Geomeridien travel and tours business intertwined with community service.

How did she get here?
Toyin was offered a Diploma admission into the Olabisi Onabanjo University in Ogun State Nigeria to study Transport and Management. It was not what her heart was set on doing but you know how parents will want their child to start any available course instead of waiting at home to write JAMB again. This will mean another year of wait.

Toyin’s words: My first thought when I was offered this course (Transport & Management) was the “Agberos”(Bus conductors) or at best a Taxi Cab driver. For like three months I didn’t attend classes.

It was like she had been sentenced to the worst kind of course which had no future prospect little did she know that therein laid her dream career ticket.

Bisi: So what changed things for you?
Toyin: My first-semester result was bad. I barely passed, this woke me up. I, therefore, determined to study hard. As time passed by and I came to a realization that transportation covered is a wide field and offers me an array of career opportunities. I found out that there were different categories of transport such as Land, Air, Water, Cargo to Ship. I discovered that I could work in Customs service, VIO, Ministry of works and transport, tourism and much more. Soon I fell in love with my course.

Initially, she thought of studying Economics at the BSc level after finishing her diploma instead she went further with a degree in Transport and Management.

Bisi: What happened after your first degree?
Toyin: The Tourism aspect of my course struck me most and it became my passion this led me to do a Masters in Tourism and Hospitality Management in India.

Bisi: What did it feel like studying in a foreign country?
Toyin: At first it was difficult adjusting to the new culture. I found my way gradually and began to mingle. Where I come from we greet everyone but I noticed people kept to themselves. I started to take the initiative to say hello to people I meet every day from the security man to the gadner and my schoolmates too. People began to warm up to me. Over there in India far away from home, I engaged in community service visiting Orphanage homes and even organized a summer event that brought rich and poor children’s children together. This I did in collaboration with my colleagues in school, lecturers who bought into our idea. It was a rich rewarding and fulfilling time.

Bisi: When did you start your business?
Toyin: All these community service activities inspired me to start my Travels and Tours business back in India even as a student. Now we are also here in Nigeria. Our business name is Geomeridien Travels & Tours.

Bisi: So what is next for you?
Toyin: I continue to look for ways I can reach out more to my communities and make a difference.

Bisi: Your Life’s Motto/Inspiration

Toyin: What you give to life is what life gives back to you.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)