National President, Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SOGON), Dr. Fred Achem, has called for the education and autonomy for women to put their child bearing decisions into effect.
Speaking at the 47th Annual Scientific Conference of the society in Lagos, themed: "Family Planning and Development in Nigeria," Achem said that such autonomy would provide women with safe, effective decisions and ways to avoid unwanted pregnancies and check population growth.
Achem said: "Preliminary report of the 2013 National Demographic and Health Survey (NHDS) indicates that Nigerian Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is gradually declining in recent times from rate 6.0 birth per woman in 1990 to 5.5 birth in 2013."
Though, the report concluded that Nigeria has a long way to go to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets, especially MDGs four and five targeted at reducing child mortality and improving maternal health.
"This fertility rate reflect out collective failure to provide women with safe and effective ways to avoid pregnancies they don't intend or want," he said.
Achem noted that modern methods Contraceptives Prevalence Rate (CPR) remained low in Nigeria due to cultural background and lack of education.
However, he said, "Our attitude to women and contraception must change, women are not male property as seen by many. Contraception gets confused with abortion and it is also associated with promiscuity, this are misconceptions."
Achem said there was the need to entrench family planing in the healthcare system of the country for an appropriate population, now and for the future generation.
In his address, Dr. Oluwarotimi Akinola, Chairman Local Organising committee of the conference said that there was need to address women's autonomy, the dignity of sex without reproduction and the importance of a non-growing population to environmental sustainability.
Akinola noted that the alarming high rate of unwanted pregnancies contributed to the prevailing scandalous maternal mortality rates as well as roaring population of unemployed youths with its socio-economic and security implications.
He therefore called for collaborative partnership to address these challenges.