Thursday, January 14, 2010

Birth Control in the Healthy Villages

This month, we are again providing free birth control to women in our villages, their third ‘cycle’ since the launch of Healthy Villages over the summer. 

We launched the birth control program last summer by bringing an outside NGO, SoftPower, into the villages.  SoftPower nurses held outreaches with nutrition and family planning information (these two topics are interlinked in Uganda, where poor child spacing or too many children can lead to malnutrition), and then gave out birth control and condoms.  (All women who wish to go on birth control must first take a pregnancy test.)

Three months ago, we worked with both local Health Centers and SoftPower.  They held joint outreaches where the SoftPower nurses trained Health Center staff to conduct the nutrition and family planning education presentations, and Health Center staff met the women who were taking birth control, and helped give pregnancy tests, injections, etc.  This was a sort of ‘transition’ phase of our birth control program.

Now, we are working with Health Center nurses only.  They are still doing both nutrition and family planning education sessions, handing out condoms, and giving out birth control after the necessary pregnancy test.  Sometimes the Health Centers don’t have all the equipment or contraceptives necessary, and then they’ll either borrow from other Health Centers, or UVP will buy certain items.  So far, we’ve managed to scrape together all that we need to do the outreaches successfully.  Our hope is that, over time, the Health Centers will begin to place more importance on regularly ordering all items necessary to birth control provision.  If the district is consistently failing to deliver certain items, even when the Health Centers place orders correctly, we’ll speak with district officials about the situation.

After a year or two, we may begin helping women to go to their local Health Centers for birth control, as opposed to bringing the local Health Centers to them.  At the moment, many women fear to go to Health Centers for birth control because of the mild stigma attached to family planning, or because their husbands will not allow them.  Many women are also afraid to take birth control in general, even if they do wish to have fewer children, because they have heard myths about the dangers of birth control.  It is our hope that, through a year or two of bringing birth control and family planning education into the village, and by making sure to educate men as well as women, we will help to cultivate an acceptance and understanding of birth control, eventually empowering women to go to the health centers themselves, without the help of UVP.  

1 comment:

deepesh said...

This was nice good article that you feel for you country and i liked it very much it is inspiring true story about woman and woman's problem about early pregnancy test . Now they can have what the like but still same problem with the rural place so my country is facing same problem here but we have to fight for woman's right.