Written by Ijeoma UKAZU

Family planning: Irregular supply of consumables affects uptake

Sexual and reproductive health services save lives. Yet millions globally still do not have access to the contraceptive services that they need and want.

Making these family planning commodities as well as consumables available and easily accessible increases uptake and provide means for women to decide when they want to have children and how many they intend to have.

This choice has significant effect on the health and economic wellbeing of women and their families. 

Often times, barriers such as non-availability of consumables such as syringe, cotton wool, hand gloves or a cost attached to these consumables pose a grave challenge to the uptake of family planning by women of reproductive age of 15 to 49 years.

Recent findings at Ikorodu local government area of Lagos State during an advocacy activity organised by Family Planning Media Advocacy Working Group in collaboration with Public Health Sustainability Advocacy Initiative, PHSAI, shows that there is a huge gap in the supply of family planning consumables.

During a dialogue with some community leaders at Ikorodu, the secretary, Community Development Committee, CDC Ikorodu West, Mr Bashiru Raheem, indicated that there is irregular supply of family planning consumables in the area.

According to Raheem, "as at now, we don't have consumables. But efforts are being made to make them available."

Raheem, who is an active advocate of family planning, said that he carries out advocacy in the community to enlighten women and men its importance to the family as well as the country at large.

For, Mrs Mojisola Akande, a community leader from Gbeshi Primary Healthcare Centre, Ikorodu stated some challenges faced in the community, "we don’t have enough staff in the PHC. All the various types of family planning commodities and consumables are not always available."

However, she said, we render our complaint during stakeholders meeting through the health educator in General hospital Ikorodu and supplies are made.

Akande added that some family planning users do complain on preferred method, stating that, "some women complain that when they use the coil, they do bleed and some say that, when they use the injectables, they have irregular menstruation.

"We always counsel them that these different methods depends on ones body type. We advise for a change of method if previous one is not compatible with their body.

"These women, see us, the community leaders and family planning advocates as examples. We live in the same community with them and they see how we give birth to our children, we don’t have too many children unlike them that give birth every year. They admire us and we, the leaders encourage them to use family planning."

In response to the issues of consumables, the Health Educator, Ikorodu local government area, Mrs Jakande Lawal, said whenever there are no consumables, a report is written to the appropriate quarters and a supply is made, stressing that clients do not pay or buy consumables.

Citing an example, Lawal said, "Let’s take Itelewa Primary Healthcare Centre as an example. Whenever, there is any shortage of consumables, we write a report to the Medical Officer of Health, MOH, and it is being channeled to the appropriate quarters."

As part of her duty, the health educator said is to carry out health activities in the community, including having a stakeholders meeting concerning any health issue as well as educating, sensitizing people on the importance of healthy living.

Also speaking, the family planning manager, Ikorodu, Mrs Sulaiman Iyabode, said "in November last year, 2018, when I took over this position, there were stock out of implants family planning method and an information was passed to the family unit coordinator in the Lagos State Ministry of Health and an emergency supply of Implants was made.

"Twice, we have had stock out of implants and supplies made but the supplies was not enough. We were given 50 in the first time and 60, the second time, it was not enough as it was exhausted immediately."

Nevertheless, the Family Planning Manager said, there have been an improvement in the usage of contraception, but lament that more could have been done if not for the stock out of implants.

According to her, more women in Ikorodu prefers the implants as awareness for the method is high, stating that, "though we counsel them on their preferred method but if there were no Implants, some of the women opt for the injectables."

On scarcity of consumables, Iyabode revealed that the supplies made by the state Ministry of Health is usually not enough, "if we have to do implants for like 30 to 40 clients in a month, the consumables provided cannot be enough, so whenever the consumables finishes, we inform the MOH for more supplies."

As on a daily basis, Lagos State witnesses influx of people and families, and with these, the State projects to achieve the global target of family planning by year 2020.

Indeed, to achieve the 27 percent target, state governments also gave themselves target and Lagos state made a commitment to increasing its CPR to 74 percent by 2020.

But with 2020 around the corner, findings show that family planning is gaining fresh acceptance by some women in the state.

 

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