Why Women Choose Contraceptives over Unsafe Abortion in Ibadan

THE singing, drumming and dancing was all that was needed to draw attention of passersby to the Elebu Primary Health Centre (PHC) in Ido Local Government Area of Ibadan, Oyo State where more women now choose contraceptives over unsafe abortion.

The women were mostly young some single, others, others, married and are of various educational background.  They have same mission, they were at the facility for uptake of contraceptives and to access information on the most suitable contraceptives for them.

This was the experience of members of the Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria (NRHJN) during a recent field trip to some of the facilities supported by Marie Stopes International Organisation of Nigeria (MSION) in Ibadan, Oyo State.

When Safe Abortions Become Necessary

28-year-old Odemuyiwa Abidemi was one of those who were at the Elebu PHC for a medical check and follow-up after taking up her choice of contraceptive, the injectable. She spoke of her experience on why she chose to space her births with an effective contraceptive method rather than engage in unsafe abortion.

Community Mobilisers at Elebu Primary Health Centre

Abidemi told Healthstyleplus, “Already I have three children, first one is nine years and the last is four years old. I want to give my children time to grow better and for me to also have rest. I understand that planning one’s family include spacing their births because this allows one to enjoy good health so I chose the three monthly injectable contraceptive last September and I am here today, to check my blood pressure and know if everything is okay with me”.

Atinuke Adekunle is another 29-year old mother of one-and-a-half-year-old boy who was also sighted at the Elebu PHC for the uptake of a contraceptive method.

“I am here to seek more information about the 3-year Norplant which I intend to choose as my method. I want to find out more about the side effects that is in it and if it is actually the best one for me.

“I am an OND Graduate and cannot wait to go back for my HND course soon; so, I do not want anything to disturb the programme that is why I have come to find out more about the 3-year contraceptive plan”, said Atinuke.

Both Abidemi and Atinuke told our Correspondent that their husbands understood the economic and social benefits of taking up one contraceptive method or another for effective family planning and child spacing and so, gave their consent even as both husbands do not themselves use the condom as a male contraceptive.

However, at the Segun Adeniji Memorial Health Clinic & Maternity Home, Apata, Healthstyleplus met 46 year-old Florence Oloye who became a covert to modern contraceptive method after six abortions.

She narrated to our Correspondent that it was her encounter with healthcare providers from Segun Adeniji Memorial Health Clinic during an outreach programme that saved her life from another unsafe abortion.

The women couldn’t resist dancing to the songs and drumming at Elebu

“Between my oldest daughter who is 26 and the next who is 20, I had six abortions because each time my husband and I had sex, I got pregnant and abortion was the only way I knew  to prevent not having an unwanted baby.

“I did not know about any other way to avoid pregnancy and even after my second child I continued to abort but the last one was very complex because I bled and had infection and my husband was afraid that I could die if I continued to abort.

“So, two year ago, I was in the bathroom when I heard some outreach people passing by our house and giving information on family planning, I quickly went after them to collect their flier and then, came to Segun Adeniji where I was counseled and put on 5-year long lasting plan”, said Florence.

She was at the facility for a follow-up medical check on how she is faring, two years into using the Implant.

Since her experience of the contraceptive method has been good, Florence was quick to introduce her 26-year-old daughter to uptake of contraception which according to her, “is to avoid contracting sexually transmitted and prevent pregnancy since she is not yet married”.

Florence has since become a community mobiliser referring women in her market and community to Segun Adeniji Memorial Hospital for uptake of family planning services.

Statistics from the medical records of the two facilities visited in Ibadan revealed that quite a number of women who attend the centres are taking up contraceptives than opting for unsafe abortion with quacks.

For instance, at the Elebu PHC, between May and October 2019 the total number of women who opted for various contraceptives rose as follows: 34 in May, 23 in June, 19 in July, 52 in August, 20 in September and 40 in October.

According to the chief matron at the Elebu PHC, Mrs. Olawunmi Akano, “There are community mobilisers who are responsible for outreaches to encourage women in the communities around us to come out for contraceptives especially during the infant immunisation clinics.

“When the women come for infant immunisations we seize the opportunity to talk to them about family planning and different contraceptives that are available for their uptake”, said Olawunmi.

“We have the Intrauterine Device (IUCD), Implanon, Jadelle, Noristerant, and Depo as well as Cyana press, pills and condoms but most of our clients prefer injectibles which we have always had in the clinic before the implanon was introduced.

We however do encourage the women who come to take on the long lasting contraceptive methods.

At the Segun Adeniji Memorial Hospital, the data for services showed in August, there were 38 new clients for contraceptive uptake and 7 existing clients who visited for follow up; and in the month of September the clientele rose to 55 new uptake and 5 existing who switched from short term to long term contraceptive method.

According to Mrs. Bosede Adeniji, Chief  Family Planning Provider at Segun Adiji Memorial Hospital, Kuola, Apata,  “Of all the services offered at Segun Adeniji Memorial Hospital, Family Planning services is the major one offered because the community, Kuola is a highly populated area with women and young girls who without doubt really need to plan their families”.

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