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Family planning gains prominence among couples in Lagos

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By Gabriel Olawale

Dwellers of  Bariga and Yaba area of Lagos State are ecstatic over the transformation of the  family planning clinic in Oloja and Alli-Daodu Primary Healthcare Centres, PHC.

Family Planning Centre: Couple receiving reproductive health counseling from a health care provider at a family planning clinic.

The development was complemented by huge turnout of clients at the two Centres in search of  family planning services.

At the  Alli-Daodu PHC in Abule Ijesha, Yaba Local Council Development Area, LCDA, Mrs. Aminat Adamu, 28, who accompanied her friend to access family planning  services told whoever cared to listen how she has single-handedly introduced 12 of her friends to the centre in order to access the services.

Aminat who hails from Kano and resides at Mile 12, while operating her  business activities in Yaba, told Good Health Weekly that  she got married before she was 20 and currently has  four children.

“After my fourth child, I sat down and analysed  my life because to care for my children, do house work and also carried out my business activities, I realised the need for family planning to stay alive.

“Were it not for family planning perhaps I would not be alive today. I always take my time to explain to some of my friends that got married early with about four to six children now, about the need to take up family planning.”

Aminat explained that just  as she discussed with her husband before accessing the family planning service, she does encourage other women to do same.

“Some of the women I introduced to family planning have also introduced others. You know we can’t tell our husbands not to have sex with us because we are afraid of getting pregnant and having unplanned children, so the available option is prevention of unwanted pregnancy.”

Next to Amina was  Shade Adesida, 35, who had embraced family planning too and had been placed on contraceptive injection.

Shade has four children and her last born is five  years old.

She told Good Health Weekly that  she and her spouse utilised the withdrawal method before the social mobilisation  sensitised them about different methods and benefits of family planning.

“Since I have been using injection method about a year now, I have had no issues and my husband is happy with me because we don’t plan to have  children again and family planning is helping us to achieve such determination.”

Shade who vowed that she would not stop using a reliable family planning method, said that she has successfully introduced four of her friends to the service.

“I do tell my friends that most of the people that complain negatively about family planning are those that patronise quacks, and that rather they should visit the PHC where they can get the right information.”

At Oloja PHC in Bariga Shomolu area of Lagos, where nursing mothers and youths were seen in enmasse going into the family planning clinic, it was gathered that the  number of clients to be attended to was so much  Good Health weekly waited about three hours before getting a chance to speak to Senior Nursing Sister, Mrs Awodeyi Olubukola.

Sekinat Abdulazeez, a breasfeeding mother of a three-month-old baby noted that she and her husband agreed to  space their children.

“I do not want a situation that my  husband would be compelled to look  outside for another wife , so I  opted for family planning so that I can attend to his needs at all times,” she stated.

In her response to the positive change in family planning uptake, the Chief Nursing Officer, at Alli-Daodu PHC, Mrs. Bioku Grace, attributed the attitudinal change to two major reasons; one is the ongoing sensitisation by the Lagos State government, and two, is the renovation exercise  in the clinic that is being carried out by the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative, NURHI.

Grace said that the changes experienced in  2017 can be regarded as first of its kind in many years, “I came here in May, 2016 and the turnout was very low to the extent that we had like four clients in a month but now we do have like 30 clients in a month.

“In the first seven months of this year, we  attended to 225 patients and we are expecting increase in the uptake before the end of the year.”

Grace explained that some of her clients do have challenges after the uptake of family planning but it took her some time to listen and address their complaints.

“I always give them my phone number to call anytime they have complaints,” she said.

“There is one of my clients that I did a family planning method for. She  called me around 6:00am to complain of bleeding and said that she would  like to remove it.

“She came to my office, I counselled her and prescribed drugs for her, and since then she has been enjoying it. You  will be surprised that the woman is still on that method.

“I usually  tell them that when they use family planning, it is either they see their menses or not, and because the method is strange in their body, it will either react positively or negatively and either way, they should come back and with time their body will adjust to it.”

Grace said that majority of her clients are within the age of 25 to 35 years old of which if they don’t have access they are likely to have unplanned children, “Implant is their favourite and beauty of it is that service are render free of charge. About six adolescent have come to the centre to access service this year.

Mrs Awodeyi Olubukola who is a Senior Nursing Sister at Oloja PHC in Bariga Shomolu, Lagos where 24 hours services were being rendered said that the renovation of the centre send a good signal to client as some of them use to confess that the clinic is very neat.

“Before, the turnout was like 25 per cent but since NURHI intervention it has increased to about 60 percent. This year alone, we have attended to about 285 clients. We are in August and before the end of this year we are expecting like 1,000 clients and kudos to the community mobilisers, they are doing a fantastic job because the number of people that come with referral cards is massive.”

Olubukola said  majority of  clients blame the present economic situation as the major reason for taking up family planning.

“The preferred methods among other clients is the implant  because some of them already have four or five children and they don’t want any mistake.

“Most of them complain of bleeding because they will bleed more than normal and once I give them pills the bleeding will stop and they will continue to enjoy their sexual life.”

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