Religious leaders in Ogun State have been asked to incorporate family planning and sex education messages into religious teachings as part of efforts to correct the misconceptions surrounding reproductive and family health.
The leaders, under the aegis of Interfaith Association on Family Planning and Childbirth Spacing, emphasised the need for the dissemination of right messages on family planning, especially by religious leaders, to their congregations.
The Ogun State Chairman of the Interfaith Coalition on Family Planning and Childbirth Spacing, Venerable Richard Akinboyewa, made the call on Sunday at the meeting of members of the association in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.
Akinboyewa explained that the coalition, comprising clerics from Christian and Islamic religions and mission birth attendants, was a family planning advocacy group saddled with the responsibility of educating and enlightening people on the benefits of modern methods of family planning.
He said it had become imperative for religious leaders to incorporate family planning and sex education messages into their teachings to drastically reduce teenage pregnancy, maternal mortality rate and abortion, among others.
He asserted that both Christianity and Islam support family planning and childbirth spacing, saying that family planning did not promote promiscuity, as believed by some people.
His words, “We can preach family planning from the pulpits. At the inter-faith level, we have a preaching manual booklet with Biblical references that we make use of, where the bible supports family planning, and those are the places we use in passing across our messages.”
“We should preach about it (family planning), especially when we are holding marriage counselling for young people. When you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. So planning is very, very good.”
Akinboyewa disclosed that the state government was aware of the coalition’s activities, saying, “The Ministry of Health and the State Primary Healthcare Board are supporters of what we are doing and we have been working together to ensure safe family health.”
A member of the Advocacy Working Group (AWG) and Interfaith Coalition, Alhaja Hairat Olukemi Ogunmoye, quoting a verse from the Qur’an that a woman must stay two years after another delivery before conception, argued this showed that Islam also recognises family planning.