Facilities record more clients
The 72-hour renovation and equipping of family planning clinics in 50 selected public health facilities in Lagos State by the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) since 2016 in selected Primary Healthcare Clinics (PHCs) seems to be paying off.
A recent facility tour by the Development Communications Network (DEVCOMS) together with some newsmen to some of these facilities such as Alli Daudu, Oloja PHCs showed that more women have chosen to accept family planning unlike before.
The officers in charge of these PHCs told the newsmen that there are tremendous responses from their clients. According to Mrs. Grace Bioku, Chief Nursing Officer in Charge of Alli Daudu PHC, this year alone, she has attended to not less than 225 women between the ages of 20 to 30 years who have chosen injectables and implants. This, according to her, is a shift from what they used to have which is between one to four clients in a month.
“We now have more than 30 clients in a month. Even men are also coming for condom now since NURHI mobilzers started directing them here. Only this year, I have attended to more than 225 clients between the age 20 to 30 and teenagers as well,” she said.
Mrs. Bioku attributed the highest contributing factor to the sudden rise in the number of her clients to NURHI’s intervention: “Kudos to them,” she remarked.
“If not because of this renovation up till now, I know we will be where we used to be. So NURHI is really trying. Thank God for the intervention because when you are selling something and the wares are not well displayed, customers won’t come but now that they have renovated everywhere everything is okay. They start calling other people that the PHC is okay,” she explained.
Mrs. Bioku said the rise in the uptake is also hinged on a good interpersonal relationship with clients, saying it is a key to accessing family planning because it will make them want to come more, including teenagers.
Similarly, a visit to Oloja PHC also proved greater acceptance to family planning services. The Senior Nursing Officer, Sister Mrs. Olubukola Awodeyi, was simply overwhelmed with the positive change. She explained that turn up has increased from 25% to 60%.
“The Turn up is now fine because they were not as much as this before but since NURHI’s intervention, the turn up is now more than before. I think it has risen from about 25 percent to about 60%.
“This year alone, we are in 285. Before it would be like 50 or 60,” she revealed. She however added that NURHI community mobilzers who are going to community members to tell them about family planning are also a huge contributing factor to the rise. She said most of her clients are on implant of three and five years.
“I always educate about some expectations like possible bleeding and this has created understanding of the method and what to expect in most cases,” she said.
Speaking to some of the family planning users at Alli Daudu PHC, 28-years-old Amina Mohammed, a businesswoman said she is happy accessing family planning because it gave her opportunity to rest and do her business to assist her husband.
“I was introduced to it by a friend because I need time for my business. After I did mine, I have been bringing my friends and sisters. I would like to have more kids but not now,” the mother of three said.
As for 35-year-old Shade Adesida, a trader and mother of four, she got to know about family planning through NURHI advert. “Then when I asked, they said I should come. I was lectured when I came and they asked me the method I like to do. I told them I prefer the injection and that’s the one I went for last year. There is no side effect.
“My husband approved of it. I have being on it for the past seven months now. I am going to continue even next week; I am coming to take another one. It is free. I have even told four of my friends who have also come here for their own,” Mrs. Adesida said.
She however advised women: “They should reduce their child birth. They should come for family planning and they shouldn’t go to chemist shops. They should come to the nearest healthcare center where they will be properly counseled.”
Another family planning user at Oloja PHC, Sekinat Abdulazeez, a trader, told the visiting journalists it was her first time of engaging in family planning.
“I told my husband before coming here and he accepted it. I have been hearing about family planning and I said after having my first baby I will come and do it. My baby is three months today and my husband is the only one who knows I’m coming here today,” she said.
Also, 34-years-old Sarah who just had implant before the arrival of the crew said she has been hearing about it from friends. “That’s why I said I should do it. I have three children already. Before now I was using injection but I discovered it is not working on my system, I then changed it to the one I just did,” Sarah said.
But Solomon Amaechi, a young NURHI’s social mobilizers says family planning still remains a hard sell in many places.
“Sometimes, we find it difficult. Some people do joke about it. Some of them will complain about getting fat; some that did implant would say they can’t lift up that part of the hand. But most of them don’t come to the health centers. They go to quack doctors that stay in one room to carry out operations. So, we discourage them from going to such places because some of the operators there are not trained,” he explained.
When the crew got to Oba Salami PHC which is yet to commence full implementation of NURHI’s intervention due to the ongoing renovation of the entire PHC, it was a different ball game as the officer in charge who begged for anonymity disclose that there is a low uptake of family planning there. Before the renovation, the officer said people could not even access healthcare there, let alone, now that they moved to a temporary place.
But family planning activities at the temporary site are almost non-existent as the atmosphere looks so unhealthy and capable of scaring away intending client. Perhaps when the ongoing renovation of the PHC which started since January is over, more clients might have a change of mind to go there for family planning.