A General Physician, Dr Tosin Olowojebutu, on Wednesday said an increased awareness on preconception care for pregnant women would reduce birth defects and disorders.
Olowojebutu, the Medical Director of Liberty-Life Hospital in Ogudu, Lagos State, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that if preconception care was not properly handled, it could lead to complications.
According to him, “Preconception care is a set of interventions that aim to identify and modify biomedical, behavioural and social risks to the woman’s health or pregnancy outcome through prevention and management.
“Elements of preconception care should be integrated into every primary care visit for women of reproductive age.
“Preconception care must not be limited to a single visit to healthcare provider, but rather, should be a process of care designed to meet the needs of an individual.
“All healthcare providers must also educate patients on how their reproductive life plans can impact on contraceptive and medical decision making.”
Olowojebutu, quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO) research findings, said “currently, only 30.3 per cent of women are reported to be receiving pregnancy health counselling.’’
According to him, further efforts can be made to promote research to define the evidence-based standards of preconception care, determine its cost and improve tracking of the proportion of women, improve pregnancy planning, spacing and prevent unintended pregnancy.
“Increase the proportion of publicly funded family planning clinics that offer the full-range of government approved method of contraception.
“Increase the proportion of health insurance plans that cover contraceptive supplies and services,” he said.
Olowojebutu also urged all tiers of governments and stakeholders to increase the proportion of publicly funded family planning clinics to prevent unintended pregnancy. (NAN)
By: Olagoke Olatoye
News Agency of Nigeria