In the course of my career as a demand creation specialist for Society for family health, a non-governmental organization in Nigeria, to increase uptake of reproductive and family planning services using behavioral change communications (BCC) among the populace. I have been able to create and increase demand for family planning products by 100% using provider BCC strategy. Annually, I have been able improve capacity of 360 proprietary patent medicine sellers on knowledge of family planning, counseling& referral as well as train 120 family planning providers on balanced counseling strategy. I update the knowledge of health professionals on new information on Family planning products as well as provide affordable products hence improving access and reducing unmet needs in Oyo and environs.
My primary training as a pharmacist & passion for maternal health was a motivation which was stirred up in the area of family planning after an encounter with a neighbor in my home town, who died following a pregnancy related death during the delivery of her ninth child. Presently i take care of one of her children since the father is incapable of caring for all the children
I believe this is a preventable death, which could have been averted with good knowledge & practice of family planning.
The biggest challenge i have faced is providers bias, where some providers favor one or more contraceptive methods over others. This has resulted in cases women are not offered full access to the range of contraceptive methods as well as opportunity to choose the one best suited for them. In light of this, i have interfaced with providers in order to understand their reasons for bias whilst educating them on the need to tailor method to clients need and the importance of follow up.
Most providers focus family planning primarily to older married women to the exclusion of younger sexually active women. I believe that family planning interventions should carry along all women including education, counseling, STI management. This can be overcome through sexual categorization of reproductive health needs through the use of social networks accessible by the different cadres of women. This would eliminates fear and discrimination against sexually active young women.
I would want to ensure the scope of family planning is universal, to cover all categories of women from fertile non sexually active to sexually active with or without intention of getting pregnant while encouraging users to be strong advocates for family planning. Strengthening male involvement in family planning would also be one of my focus considering the socio-cultural expectation of a male dominated African community.