Kakata, Margibi County – Misconceptions have engulfed the service of family planning in Margibi County, thereby impeding access to contraceptives or birth control in the county.
Locals in the county say this is happening due to what they consider as entrenched traditional beliefs and other fallacies about the use of contraceptives.
Assessments conducted at three of the major health facilities in Cinta Township, Kakata City and Gibi district have established that many rural dwellers especially women have refused to access the service for many reasons.
“Tradition is still a problem here,” explains Thomas Duncan, officer in charge (OIC) of Cinta clinic. “The people hold on to tradition even when it comes to their health. This is one of the reasons causing a very high rate of teenage pregnancy.”
Duncan said some of the misconceptions include speculations that contraceptive causes cancer, especially the ‘implant’ otherwise known as ‘five-years’, that there’s high risk of giving them infections, and also the propensity of causing infertility among users that have not conceived before.
Meanwhile, Weedor Siazay, a registered midwife at the Wohn clinic in Gibi district said the use of family planning among women and girls in the area are rare.
She said many believe that children are gifts from God and using any means to prevent pregnancy was not necessary for them.
Siazay disclosed that some of the women who show up for the service has to do it confidentially without letting their husbands know in order to avoid embarrassment.
“Can you imagine in this remote area some of the men are married to two-three wives and each of them have more than four children but they still refusing for their wives to come for family planning” She lamented.
The OIC at the Kakata health center said a good number of adolescent girls and women are showing up and making use of the service. But he noted that there’s high number of infection (STIs) cases being diagnose amongst users as they usually blamed the risk of getting infections to the use of family planning.
Jimmy Vesselle said the biggest misconception amongst users is that they assume that the use of contraceptive is only to prevent pregnancy but they disregard the risk involved in having sex without condom, which he said is one of the methods of family planning.
“The use of condom is the safest method of family planning, because it prevents both pregnancy and STIs, even if you are [a] woman using family planning contraceptive, it is advisable to also use condom,” Vesselle said.
“Access to family planning can also allow the man or the woman to better plan by spacing their children and to be able to better plan how to manage the economic needs of the family”.
Report By: Emmanuel Degleh, Margibi County