Interpersonal Communicators Working to Educate Communities on Family Planning
By Noha Zeitoun, Content Intern, PSI and and Alia McKee, Sea Change Strategies
Last week we introduced you to a clinic owner in Uganda, who is supported by PSI network member PACE. Clinic owners also sometimes use interpersonal communicators (IPCs) to reach women in villages and educate them on the services offered. Today we highlight how IPCs are helping patients get the care they need.
Josephine, a ProFam interpersonal communicator (IPC), in Uganda first heard about IPC work when people came to her community center. She wanted to help mothers and their children live healthy lives. She also wanted to earn money to help her family.
When she meets a mother who wants help, she refers them to the ProFam clinic she works with. Josephine’s biggest challenge is that most people have wrong ideas about family planning.
She also knows that women come to the clinic for vaccinations and neonatal appointments, that’s when they are most likely to listen to ideas about family planning. But it also helps if first they hear about family planning options from peers outside of the clinic context.
Josephine’s job is to go door to door with information about family planning and maternal health services. She met Sarah one afternoon and listened to her story.
Sarah’s husband was violent. He would hit her anytime he thought she was using contraception. Sarah had nearly died during her last pregnancy and didn’t want to risk any more children. So she would use “secret” methods like injectables, but wanted something better like an IUD.
Sarah begged Josephine to talk to her husband. And Josephine courageously did.
It wasn’t easy to talk with Sarah’s husband. But after three attempts, he listened. Josephine told him that Sarah’s life was at risk. She explained how contraception works. And she referred the couple to a nearby clinic that was affordable.
One week later, Sarah had an appointment to get an IUD.
Read more about our work in family planning in Uganda:
For more success stories, go to the series: Stories from Uganda: Lessons in Providing Comprehensive Care for Women.January 11, 2016