Compound Three, Grand Bassa County – Family planning is gradually making progress in the populated town of Wayzon, District Three –Grand Bassa County, according to a family planning service provider in the area.
Sangay Salay, the family planning officer assigned at the Compound Three Youth Center, said the influx of many young girls as clients is gradually reducing teenage pregnancy in the area. Compound Three is Grand Bassa’s second most populated settlement after the county’s capital, Buchanan.
There are no empirical statistics to authentic the drop in the rate of teenage pregnancy in the county, but Sangay who has worked in the community for over a year is confident that more family planning activities directed toward young girls has influenced their sexual behavior.
“At least the way teenage pregnancy was high, it is now going down here on Compound Three,” she said. “It is reducing because young girls are now making use of the services we have here at this youth center.”
Misconceptions about family planning in rural Liberia has greatly affected the outcome in the country, and as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) remains a focus for Liberia, reducing teenage pregnancy is still a challenge.
Family Planning officers like Miss Salay working in rural communities blame traditional and religious beliefs for always impeding their work.
But the latest improvements are evident by the change in behavior of not only teenagers but couples who have understood the relevance of family planning, according to Salay.
“We are not getting much resistance from husbands like it use to be before,” she told a local radio station. “Husbands and wives are also coming here together and I can educate them…; so they are accepting the use of family planning.
The local family planning service provider has also embarked on a school based sensitization campaign engaging students regularly on various campuses to educate them on how to prevent pregnancy.
“The students are coming more (then before) and our peer educators are going around the community and engaging people on the issues of family planning,” she said. She added that more girls are showing interest then boys.
“Girls come here after every three months, but some boys only come to request condoms and when some of them who stopped using condoms contract Sexual Transmitted Infection (STI), they come for advice to seek treatment,” she added.
Liberia’s Family Planning Association (PPAL) operates 92 service points, including 8 static clinics and 2 youth centres, making it the largest family planning organization in Africa, according to IPPF. IPPF is the International Planned Parenthood Federation with an objective of promoting sexual and reproductive health, and advocating the right of individuals to make their own choices in family planning.
According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), only 12 percent of women of reproductive age use modern methods of contraception in Liberia.
USAID sponsored programs are using health messages to increase knowledge about family planning and reproductive health services, while improving access to these services with the agency spending US$5.5 million on family planning in 2015.
Report by: Alpha Daffae Senkpeni