Experts Meet for the 1st Annual National Reproductive Health Legacy Forum

The Academy for Health Development (AHEAD -PAS) with support from dRPC-PAS, Paaneah Foundation and the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan organised and convened the 1st annual Prof Babatunde Osotimehin national reproductive health legacy forum in Ibadan. Prof Babatunde Osotimehin, was a Nigerian physician and a global leader of public health, and the empowerment of women and young people, with a strong focus on promoting human rights in population and development. He spearheaded efforts in the international community to advance the milestone consensus of the international conference on population and development.

The theme: Meeting Family Planning 2020 goal: whither Nigeria?

The Legacy forum drew delegates from a myriad of sectors in Nigeria and from the academic and social network of the late Prof Babatunde Osotimehin.

The opening ceremony and annual lecture was flagged off with the national anthem. This was followed by a rousing welcome remark by Prof Adesegun Fatusi, Co-founder, AHEAD. Prof Oladosu Ojengbede the chairman of the occasion delivered his opening remarks, reminiscing about the works of the late Prof Babatunde Osotimehin and charging participants to fully engage in the legacy forum. Opportunity for special remarks was given to the family of the late Prof Babatunde Osotimehin represented by his wife Mrs Olufunke Osotimehin. Prof Eghosa Osaghae (dRPC Board of Trustee) also made some special remarks on the occasion, highlighting the role of dRPC-PAS as a health accountability platform and the support for this event. Goodwill messages from the FMOH, UNFPA, Vice Chancellor University of Ibadan and the Provost, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan rounded off the opening ceremony.

The distinguished annual lecture was flagged off with citations for Prof Emmanuel Otolorin who delivered the lecture: Meeting Family Planning 2020 goal: Whither Nigeria? Prof Emmanuel Otolorin is a senior regional programmatic and technical advisor, Jhpiego: an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University, transforming intermittent preventive treatment for optimal pregnancy (TIPTOP) project, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Mozambique and Nigeria. Prof Otolorin presented a situational analysis of Nigeria’s population, highlighting the youth bulge in the Age-Sex population structure, providing a comparative analysis of the total fertility rate for different countries that share similar population size, religious sentiments and economic development. Honing in on the modern contraceptives use in the different geopolitical zones, the consequences of rapid population growth was highlighted. Prof Otolorin enumerated Nigeria’s response to the rapid population growth including the demographic targets for the Nigeria National Population Policy on the backdrop of the commitment of the 2012 FP 2020 conference in London.  Clearly the implementation of our policy documents and guidelines has remained suboptimal. Opportunities for further action was suggested, utilizing the human centred design process. His summary was a call to Nigeria to implement policies that will slow down its rapid population growth rate if an improvement in life expectancy and the quality of life is expected for its citizens. Any delay will worsen the challenges the country faces today and the future of its younger generations will not be assured.

The Chairman (Prof Ojengbede) closed the ceremony.

Stakeholders’ dialogue and engagement was kicked off with a special event: launch of commemorative edition of Prof Osotimehin’s articles by Prof Oluwavunmi Olapede-Olaopa the provost, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan.

LAUNCH OF THE COMMEMORAATIVE EDITION OF PROF OSOTIMEHIN’S ARTICLES

The legacy forum also provided an opportunity for voices from the field: family planning programming experience sharing from partners including; Dr Mojisola Odeku (NURHI-HQ), Dr Stanley Ukpai (dRPC-PAS ),  Dr Ejike Oji (AAFP-PAS ), Dr Farouk Jega (Pathfinder International), Pharm Emeka Okafor (SFH) and Mrs Kehinde Osinowo (ARFH).

Panel Discussions on strengthening coordination and collaboration in support of Nigeria’s family planning agenda: is sector wide approach to donor assistance a possible target? Was anchored by two discussants: Dr Kayode Afolabi (Director, Reproductive Health, FMOH) and Dr Omolaso Omosehin (Assistant Representative, UNFPA).

The session ended with the national anthem and a call to visit the display tables.

REFLECTIONS

The PAS project provided support for the 1st annual Prof Babatunde Osotimehin Legacy forum. This activity provided a rich environment for academics and policy makers to discuss the challenges of family planning and possible solutions for Nigeria. The PAS project supported the following government officials to attend (see appendix). This event was a success and we hope to have the opportunity to perpetuate this legacy forum and keep the ideals of Prof Babatunde Osotimehin, an FP champion alive.  The PAS project hopes to leverage on the momentum generated from this event to tackle pending issues pertaining to the work on FP both at the national level and states where we are functional.

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