Accessing Family Planning Services in Bekiina Village, Uganda

Sam Kafumbirwango and Doreen Nabukenya talking in Bekiina village, Uganda. {Photo credit: MSH}Photo credit: MSH

Doreen Nabukenya, a Ugandan woman living in Bekiina village, had her first child at the age of 17. She couldn't afford the fees to complete school. When her daughter was three years old, Doreen conceived again -- though this was not her desire.

After giving birth to her second child, Doreen approached Sam Kafumbirwango, a village health team member trained by USAID's STRIDES for Family Health (STRIDES), seeking advice about preventing another unintended pregnancy.

Doreen told Sam about her fears of the side effects that are believed to come along with using modern family planning methods like Depo-Provera. Sam explained the different contraceptive methods available and reassured Doreen that if one method did not work well for her, she could always try another.

Doreen decided she wanted to use Implanon, an implant. Since the local health center did not provide long-acting family planning methods, Sam contacted Mityana, a health worker at Reproductive Health Uganda, who would travel to the village to provide the service. Doreen gathered a group of peers -- who also had doubts about modern family planning methods -- and Sam took them through an education session.

Sam arranged for Mityana to visit the village on an agreed date to meet with the women. "That day, seven women whom I had counseled on the use of family planning, including Doreen, received Implanon."

Sam explained that this group of women pioneered the acceptance of Implanon in Bekiina village.  As a result of testimonies in the community from Doreen and her friends, several clients have recently come to him seeking help on family planning. The health worker came a second time and provided Implanon to an additional 20 women.

Six weeks later, Doreen said she has no problem with the implant: "I feel happy and confident that I will not get pregnant in the next three years."

Doreen plans to establish a small business to earn money to support her children and their grandmother with whom she lives. She is not ready to have more children until she has secured a stable source of income -- and her husband supports her decision.

STRIDES for Family Health -- led by MSH in partnership with Jhpiego, Meridian International, and Uganda's Communication for Development Foundation -- empowers women to take control of their reproductive lives and empowers communities to provide the services they need. When women can access affordable contraceptive services locally, they can focus more resources on the care of themselves and their families, leading to healthier outcomes for all.


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