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Simon Manga

Simon Manga 2016 Winner
Position: Reproductive Health Specialist/Family Planning Supervisor
Organization: Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services
He has excellent clinical skills in Family Planning (FP) service Provision. For the past 7 years, he has been coordinating FP and Women's Health Program (WHP) activities within the organization. He trains, supervises and evaluate staff performance. – Pius Tih, Director of Health Services at Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

As Family Planning (FP) Supervisor for the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS) for over 8 years, I have been involved in building staff capacity in FP, supervising staff performance and ensuring timely supply of commodities for the organization. I have introduced the notion of mobile FP services to remote areas in conjunction with HIV screening and cervical and breast cancer screening. This is in order to meet the needs of rural women and couples who do not have access to these services. In these mobile FP clinics, focus is given to long acting reversible contraceptive methods and condoms. I have been able to partner with both national and international organisations for support to our FP program. Some of these organizations include USAID, UNFPA, ACMS and even the MOH.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

Cameroon has an increasing maternal mortality rate (782/100,000 births). It has been proven scientifically that Family Planning (FP) alone can reduce maternal mortality by 2/3. As a clinician, I see lots of women every week in the hospital with complications of induced abortions; some of which ends in death. If these women where using FP methods, most of these pains, suffering and death could have been averted. Advocating for FP is my own contribution against the high rates of maternal mortality

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your family planning efforts, and what have you done to overcome it?

Working in a faith-based organization, my biggest challenge has been religious barriers to FP. Most church leaders are of the opinion that FP services should be limited only to the married and that offering FP to the unmarried is sinful. Before joining the organization's FP program 8 years ago, the services were strictly reserved for the married. After lots of sensitization on the right-based approach and values clarifications, many are now seeing the need to offer FP to all who need it.

What is your (country/region/city)’s biggest challenge in family planning, and how can it be addressed?

In Cameroon, one of the biggest challenge to FP is that of rumours and misconception about the methods. There is a belief that some contraceptives are abortificient, cause infertility; cancer; obesity, etc. Worst of all, some health care professionals also hold these views. To address this challenge, more sensitization is needed. These sensitization should begin in hospitals to all workers since they can influence others. The next target should be religious leaders because of their influence .

What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?

I will be starting a 4 years PhD in Population Health in the University of Massachussetts Boston, USA, in September 2016. So, this will be my major accomplishment in the next 5 years. During this study period, I will be conducting my thesis on family planning and other women's reproductive health issues back in Cameroon. Therefore, I will be involved in project implementation and writing of publications within the next 5 years.

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