Advocacy Field Trip to Primary Health Care Centers In Plateau State
Media Forum in Plateau State instituted by the Development Communications Network and The challenge initiative (TCI) In a bid to drive media involvement in reducing maternal and child mortality.
Development Communications, The challege initiative and Plateau State Media Action for Family Planning under the auspices of Plateau State Primary Health Care Board visited Township and Dogon Agogo Primary Health Care centres in Jos North local government area of the state for advocacy.
The aim of the visit was to improve media coverage on reproductive health-related issues and to assess the level of public knowledge on family planning methods, principles and practices.
It was also to interact with both family planning service providers and clients with a view to addressing misconceptions such as myths and community of practice as related to family planning methods through reportage.
Speaking during the visit, Mrs Ladi Godwin Diyal, who is family planning service provider with PHC Township Clinic, said that the family planning services available at the centre include injectables, implants, orals and barrier methods.
She stated that the centre recorded significant increase in patronage or utilization of family planning services and commodities by women of different religions, which indicates that more people are now coming to terms with the importance of child birth spacing or family planning as a result of consistent media advocacy and education of women during the pre-natal and post-natal sessions at the clinic.
Another speaker, also a family planning provider (with PHC Dogon Agogo), explained that the clinic receives women with different reproductive health challenges, stressing the importance of checking clients’ history before administering any family planning methods, while explaining that, the male folks opt for ‘barrier methods,’ thus an increased demand on condoms in the health care facility.
Overall, Plateau State Media Action for Family Planning noticed that, most of the clients, who spoke based on personal experiences, were surprised to discover that family planning methods do not necessarily lead to increase in weight as widely reported by some women.
They also advocated for the need for both media and medical professionals to take family planning/child birth spacing awareness and sensitization campaign to the next level and the rural areas.
Leader of the team, Gwamkat Gwamzhi, who led the delegation and other members, were warmly received by Mrs Esther Bala and Mrs Hannah Gyang of Primary Health Care Centre Township Jos and Dogon Agogo, respectively.
On the youths’ involvement, they said “There is low patronage, but they are not left behind, as they have keyed into family planning, though, the youths mostly patronize condoms.
“Patronages at the facilities so far visited were noticed to be impressive and not seasonal, as they record 20-30 clients per day, cutting across the different religions,” they noted.
The service providers charged the media to create more awareness to encourage family planning, saying the benefits are numerous to the people and nation at large, and also said, that they provide proper education on the service as well as dispel the myths and misconceptions about family planning, which are adversely affecting a certain population of the public.
It was observed that clients from neighbouring Bauchi and Kaduna States do visit to access the service, and plans are underway for an outreach for people coming from outside the state.
On the challenges being experienced, the service providers explained that there is shortage of commodities, which sometime affects the unit as, they do go out to obtain from the market.
Men were said to patronize condoms as none has done permanent contraception (vasectomy).
The service providers said, in the case of adverse reactions of the services, clients are counselled and given appropriate drugs to suppress same.
Some clients commended the professionalism displayed by the service providers, saying, they are enjoying the services, and promised to encourage other women, who are yet to embrace family planning, to do so on account of the benefits to them, their families and the society at large.