Leading With LARCs in Nigeria: The Stars Are Aligned to Expand Effective Family Planning Services Decisively

Despite years of family planning effort in Nigeria, the modern contraceptive prevalence (mCPR) has reached only 10%. Yet a few recent seminal, well-executed programs have been outstandingly successful providing long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs)—both in the public and private sector, and in the North and South. Remarkably, the LARCs they provided were equivalent to 2% mCPR in 2015 alone.

Accordingly, we advocate markedly increased support for: (1) private-sector approaches such as social franchising, particularly in the South, (2) mobile outreach, and (3) support to public clinical facilities, including expanding access through community health extension workers (CHEWs), particularly in the North. Success will require system support, quality, and concerted engagement from a variety of partners including the Government of Nigeria.

Without significant progress in Nigeria, the global FP2020 goal appears unattainable. Fortunately, leading with LARCs along with wide choice of other methods provides a clear avenue for success.