Media Action for Family Planning, an advocacy group, comprising media practitioners and health workers in Anambra State, on Monday, took a sensitisation campaign on family planning to Aguata Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC), Ekwulobia.
The group also extended the exercise to Neni PHC, in Anocha Local Government Area of the state.
The exercise was to improve access to family planning services among women of reproductive age in the state. And the programme was supported by The Change Initiative (ITC).
While receiving the group, the Family Planning Service Provider and Reproductive Health Supervisor of the council, Mrs. Ijeoma Onuorah, described family planning as a valuable and important component of every PHC and noted that, through it, many women had prevented unwanted pregnancy when relating with their husbands.
She disclosed that in the last two months, the PHC had counselled over 340 males and females on family planning, and noted that about half of them had accessed different family planning methods.
According to her, family planning, which comes in different methods, is also good for single women of active sexual life. Some of these methods are injectable, some are insertable into a woman, while others are in form of an oral peel.
“Every woman within the reproductive bracket can choose whichever method she likes; and can protect them from 2-months to 10 years depending on the method adopted,” she said.
Onuorah called for more sensitisation across the nooks and crannies of communities in the state, to raise wider knowledge and acceptability of family planning while canvassing more support in the provision of family planning services.
“We need to have more radio jingles and programmes on family planning, and other mainstream and new media should help to propagate the message to our women; let there be leaflets, banners, billboards, and so on, giving people information on family planning at PHCs.”
She stressed the need to dispel myths surrounding family planning which, according to her, were as a result of lack of correct information.
According to her, the side effects accruing from family planning were method-specific and assured that there were remedies to any side effect such as menstrual changes that one might experience.
She said that the centre charged the government-approved N500 for some family planning methods. According to her, the money was meant for the purchase of consumables such as hand gloves, detergents, plasters, cotton wools and so on.
She urged the state government to allow PHCs to increase the amount to be able to sustain the initiative. “The state government can also help us provide these consumables so we don’t charge the patients at all”, she appealed.
On the challenges facing the facility, Onuorah lamented that “the structure here is old, and some of the roofs are leaking water; currently, the toilet for our patients is in bad condition; there is no water supply too because we buy all the water we use. We are equally short-staffed, as I am the only health staff here, others are local government casual workers, volunteers and students on industrial training.”
Mrs Anulika Ugwu, who had accessed the family planning services, said it was good because it helped many women prevent unwanted pregnancy while encouraging other women to key into the initiative.
Earlier, the media focal person for the programme, Mrs Franca Madike, encouraged women to access family planning to reduce the number of women that die from unwanted pregnancy and child-birth related complications.
She lauded the Aguata and Anocha PHC leadership for their effort to galvanise women to access family planning in the area.
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