Right to rest through family planning


It has already been six months since my last visit to Ali Ade camp in Djibouti where we held a three-day workshop for local religious leaders and other community members to raise their awareness about family planning. This workshop targeted men, women and adolescents and resulted in the formation of two family planning committees in the camp: one for men and one for women. Since the workshop, these committees have been working in different areas of the camp, reaching out to men and women separately through door-to-door visits and other activities to share FP information and the availability of FP services at the health center.

During this follow-up trip to Djibouti, we re-convened the two committees and, together, reviewed their achievements, lessons learned and planned next steps. Committee members also invited some beneficiaries to come and share their stories. Below is a story from one the beneficiaries.

Ayane (substituted name) is a 36-year old woman who is married with nine children. For the last 16 years, she has been living in Ali Ade camp, which is a refugee camp with one of the poorest living standards in the world.

Ayane’s last four pregnancies were spaced 7 to 8 months apart and all four required a surgical delivery. She said “The last caesarean was so complicated that I was hospitalized afterwards with a critical, life-threatening condition. My husband had to take care of me and our nine kids, which was really hard for a man”.

She continued “About half a year ago, one evening, my husband came back to the house with a smile on his face, and told me about methods for spacing and limiting births. He told me about the men’s family planning committee that was conducting awareness session in the camp. He said that they told him that there are many family planning methods available in the health center, including a couple of new methods – IUDs and implants. ”

“So, we decided then to visit the Ali Ade health center. After some discussion with the service provider, we chose the implant. Since then my husband lives in peace and, for once, I can get some rest!”

The audience was impressed by her story and started asking questions, such as “How do you feel now that you have had your implant for many months?” She told them that she was fine and everything worked well.

I stood there looking at this mother with nine children and four caesareans. What would her life look like had no family planning method been available to her?  I read a sentence on the wall behind where she stood. It said “right to leisure and pleasure” and showed an image underneath of two adolescent girls playing together. I felt a burst of pride in of our program because we are helping women and their family to realize their right to enjoy a better life.

Written by: Feven Tessaw and Jimmy Nzau, SRMH Team; CARE USA.

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