Today, the Federal Ministry of Health of Nigeria launched Nigeria’s National Guidelines for Emergency Contraception. Nigeria was one of the first countries in the world to make emergency contraception available to women;the Society for Family Health began distribution through pharmacies and drug vendors 20 years ago and important research on EC has been conducted in Nigerian universities. However, until recently, EC was not available in the public sector or procured by the government. This is now changing and these new Guidelines support and clarify the role of different sectors in providing EC to Nigerian women.
Continue reading for an outline of Nigeria’s National Guidelines on Emergency Contraception.
The Guidelines outline roles & responsibilities for various sectors and stakeholders. For example:
- That the public sector create “an enabling policy environment (including promotional efforts) to increase access to and awareness of EC”
- That the private/commercial sector and social marketing sector “support… innovation for improved demand and supply for EC”
- That donors “support NGOs and technical assistance agencies to continue to improve access to EC in Nigeria”
- Various cadres have a role for providing EC pills: physicians, pharmacists, nurses/midwives, community health workers and distributors, and non-clinical workers, regarding referral and provision for family planning needs and sexual assault response
The Guidelines outline recommendations to all stakeholders on the various priority areas. For example:
- For access: “Ensure that there is no age restriction for accessing EC as long as the person is exposed to unprotected sex”
- For awareness and promotion: “Law makers, policy makers and other stakeholders should create enabling environment for media promotion of ECP in Nigeria;” and that “indigenous languages should be used to promote EC in an integrated manner in Nigeria.”
- For procurement: “Ensure deliberations on EC as a standing item on the agenda of the regular Reproductive Health Technical Working Group Meetings.”
- For service provision: “Service protocols [should be updated] with current EC information.”
- For training: “There should be Pre- and In-service training for all service providers including CHEWs, nurses, midwives, and clinicians, in alignment with National Task Shifting Guidance.”
- “Develop a national curriculum for non-clinical health service providers on Especially PPMVs, Technicians and Law enforcement agents”
- For M&E: “EC should be captured in LMIS tools (HMIS, DCR, FP register, tally cards and RIRF)”