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Project News Updates/Highlights for 9th, 10th and 11th Quarters

Community Support Groups promote Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancies amongst youth

Khalil Ahmed, a 25-year old resident of Khanewal district in Punjab was invited by a Community Support Group (CSG) member to attend a CSG meeting in his village. 

Khalil recalls he had very little knowledge of birth spacing prior to attending the CSG. He recalls:

“Both my wife and I hardly ever thought about spacing our children; we had no knowledge about birth spacing. Ours is a conventional and conservative society, where there is hardly any talk about family planning. Even at the time of marriages, hardly anyone, regardless of their gender, is given any counseling or guidance by the elders. It’s not as if no one wants to help; it’s just very uncomfortable for people to discuss this topic.  This is further compounded by the fact that very few people in our village have knowledge of family planning services which hinders communication.

However, this is changing in Khalil’s village. “Mindsets have started to change.  Many of our elders are regularly invited to CSG meetings where they are given detailed information about family planning services and benefits of birth spacing. It was through an elder only that I was introduced at the CSG meetings.”

Khalil fondly recalls, “I was a bit apprehensive but he insisted that people conducting this session were friendly and had detailed knowledge on the subject, adding that someone in my age bracket can indeed be a major beneficiary. He was right. The CSG meeting was a wonderful experience. Organisers of the CSG spoke in simple language and had all the necessary knowledge that one would need to adopt birth spacing. We were encouraged to ask questions and no one was ridiculed or laughed at for presenting their point of view. In-fact any doubts we had were taken into consideration and all questions were answered in detail. I consider CSGs to be a great source of information and encouragement! It was only after attending this session that I managed to discuss birth spacing with my wife and we opted for a family planning service.”

Acknowledgment
‘Evidence for Innovating to Save Lives’ is a project funded by the Maternal and Newborn Health Programme – Research and Advocacy Fund (RAF), and is implemented by Marie Stopes Society (MSS).

Disclaimer:
This documentary is an output from a project funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for the benefit of developing countries. The views expressed and information contained in it are not necessarily those of or endorsed by DFID, DFAT or the Maternal and Newborn Health Programme – Research and Advocacy Fund (RAF), which can accept no responsibility or liability for such views, for completeness or accuracy of the information, or for any reliance placed on them.

Community Support Groups promote ownership in Communities

Nawab Khan is 27-year old father of two children. He is a tailor by profession and lives in Haripur district of KP where he is a regular attendee at the CSG meetings.

“I always wanted to attend a CSG, ever since our elders started talking openly to us about the benefits of healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies and its importance for healthier lives. In the past, family planning was rarely discussed in the community; we had inadequate knowledge on the subject and we were shy to bring it up.”

CSG meetings in Nawab’s village have been instrumental in highlighting family planning and birth spacing services and in conveying this information to the community in a simplified manner.

Nawab adds, “When I started attending a CSG I noticed how our queries were responded in detail without judging us. Instead of being given a lecture we were encouraged to be interactive. The atmosphere was friendly, everyone was relaxed and spoke in an easy and carefree manner.”

“CSG conductors took ownership of the task of imparting family planning knowledge to the community by welcoming our community’s elders in their ranks, gave them the necessary knowledge about birth spacing and requested them to take a similar ownership of passing on whatever they had learnt.  Now community elders are not only passing on their knowledge but they are also encouraging youngsters like me to do the same. I consider myself an important part of this entire process and continue to advocate benefits of birth spacing in my community.”

Acknowledgment
‘Evidence for Innovating to Save Lives’ is a project funded by the Maternal and Newborn Health Programme – Research and Advocacy Fund (RAF), and is implemented by Marie Stopes Society (MSS).

Disclaimer:
This documentary is an output from a project funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for the benefit of developing countries. The views expressed and information contained in it are not necessarily those of or endorsed by DFID, DFAT or the Maternal and Newborn Health Programme – Research and Advocacy Fund (RAF), which can accept no responsibility or liability for such views, for completeness or accuracy of the information, or for any reliance placed on them.

Community Support Groups encourage community stakeholders for better reproductive health

The Community Support Group at Alooli area of district Haripur comprises nine regular members as well as 50 temporary members who have been associated with the project since inception, representing the successful realization of vision and rationale behind this initiative. The main reasons behind the high regular participation of members are:

  1. The CSG initiative was the first of its kind in this area, assembling male gatekeepers/stakeholders to contribute towards betterment of their community.
  2. It was a constant source of information and knowledge about family planning, and encouraged participants to express their concerns and confusions about family planning methods.
  3. Community members considered the meetings to be a platform for social work and a means to play their part towards the development and prosperity of the community.
  4. For many others it has been a stage to increase political awareness about their primary needs like health care of mothers and newborns.

The ex-nazim Mr. Nazir Ahmed stated, “It created a political demand in the community for provision of Family Health Units by the Government which has led to a Govt. Family Health Care Unit which provides basic health care along with family planning services being set up in the area.”

All CSG members have opted for family planning services after attending the meetings, unanimously agreeing that these services are improving the lives of their wives and children. Additionally given the current economic situations they have developed a firm conviction for small family size essential for a healthier life and continue to practice FP as the way forward.

Overall, the CSG has been an effective platform for advocacy of FP services through male gatekeepers, increasing its demand in the area. Mr. Liaquat Ali, another prominent CSG member believes: “After the CSG initiative better facilities for provision of FP services have become an electoral demand among our community. In the upcoming elections, we will try to include it in the manifestos of local political leaders.”

Acknowledgment
‘Evidence for Innovating to Save Lives’ is a project funded by the Maternal and Newborn Health Programme – Research and Advocacy Fund (RAF), and is implemented by Marie Stopes Society (MSS).

Disclaimer:
This documentary is an output from a project funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for the benefit of developing countries. The views expressed and information contained in it are not necessarily those of or endorsed by DFID, DFAT or the Maternal and Newborn Health Programme – Research and Advocacy Fund (RAF), which can accept no responsibility or liability for such views, for completeness or accuracy of the information, or for any reliance placed on them.

Client follow-up ensuring better care and consistent family planning services

Regular Client follow-ups have been a major aspect of the project; bimonthly follow-ups of the first 50 clients of each area were conducted to observe whether these clients were continuing their FP services or not and or have they switched from one method to another (short term service to long term or vice versa).

Khalida Bibi is a client who had taken the service of oral pills initially (for 4-5 months) but later switched to IUDs for a long term FP method adoption.

She is a mother of three children, hailing from Khanewal district, was initially taking pills for her contraception but later on switched to IUDs. She narrated “When I was counselled by the service provider about the FP choices, I initially opted for pills. Although I wanted a long term method I was reluctant to get an IUD since I had heard they were dangerous and can cause all kinds of problems. I am quite grateful to Baji (Service provider) and her FCM that they didn’t pressurize me and instead let me choose the method I was comfortable with. My opinion changed when I saw other women from my community get the IUD service from the very same provider and go about their daily lives without any health related issues. That’s when I realized that these services were being given in a hygienic environment and the possibilities for any complications were few and far. Baji was right when she told me that an IUD is a more practical option for someone like me with no hassles of remembering your pill schedule or wondering that whether you could accidently get pregnant (due to a skipped dosage).Thus I switched from pills to an IUD and am very much satisfied with the services and care I have gotten from here.”   

Acknowledgment
‘Evidence for Innovating to Save Lives’ is a project funded by the Maternal and Newborn Health Programme – Research and Advocacy Fund (RAF), and is implemented by Marie Stopes Society (MSS).

Disclaimer:
This documentary is an output from a project funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for the benefit of developing countries. The views expressed and information contained in it are not necessarily those of or endorsed by DFID, DFAT or the Maternal and Newborn Health Programme – Research and Advocacy Fund (RAF), which can accept no responsibility or liability for such views, for completeness or accuracy of the information, or for any reliance placed on them.