Concord Times (Freetown)

Sierra Leone: More Sensitisation On Family Planning

Sensitisation on the use of family planning methods has been scaled up as women now go for Depo, which is an injection that helps in birth control.

Family planning was launched by UNFPA in July this year to raise awareness among women to "give birth by choice and not by chance", which was the theme of this year's family planning week.

This use of family planning will help protect women from dangerous diseases such as HIV/AID, gonorrhea and other deadly ailments contacted through sex. It also helps government to provide more for its citizens in the area of education, sanitation and supply and developmental growth processes.

In spite of this, some areas still lack health centres to educate the women on the importance of family planning. One such area is the Aberdeen Road community, where Pa Alimamy Kargbo told this writer in an interview over the weekend that they lack a health centre which should be one of the basic health necessities in a community.

He said they have made several requests from NGOs and even their political representatives about some of their basic needs but to no avail.

Speaking also to Fatmata Kanu, a state enrolled community nurse attached to the Goderich health centre, she said sensitisation on family planning is poor in the area. The reason for this, she said, is that family planning has been out of the health agenda, so the people have been used to uncontrollable birth thus making way for the increase in maternal mortality in the country.

Nurse Kanu further stated that women are not cooperating with them, noting that only married women and those who had given birth to many children do go for family planning. "During clinic days, pregnant women and lactating mothers are sensitised on the use of family planning because it will help them to space their births as giving birth is not by chance but by choice," Kanu said.

She added that the percentage of teenage pregnancy in the Goderich area is very low, disclosing further that most of the supplies are on microlute and micogynon, which are the tabs and depo, which is the injection. She said malnourished children are supplied with pluming nuts and corn flour.

Speaking to nurses at the Sierra Leone Red Cross clinic in Kenema, Aminata Komeh, an MCH aid in training said women are complying with family planning issues but was quick to point out that the sensitisation is poor. She said the group that frequently visits their clinic comprises of married women.

Ms. Komeh said upon information received about married women using family planning, they have spoken with their husbands for them to control their birth rate.

Adama T. Bangura, a nurse attached to the Kroo Bay community health centre, said they have been engaging the community with sensitisation about family planning and how to go about it. She said since they commenced the sensitisation a lot of women have been reporting for family planning within the Kroo Bay and other surrounding communities.

She added that young girls form the majority of women going for the treatment and they mostly demand to use the implants injection commonly known 'captain band'.

"Family planning has helped a lot of female children especially in this community where teenage pregnancy is on the increase among children below 18 years. Now a girl child age from 12 years upwards mostly has started doing what adults are doing," she said.

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