Dr. Omasanjuwa E. Edun (@omasan1981) is a medical doctor and a public health specialist with eight (8) years’ work experience in clinical medicine and public health, and a Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH, USA). He is currently working with the John Hopkins University Center for Communications Program /Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative Phase 2 (JHU CCP/NURHI 2) Project as the State Team Leader (STL) for the NURHI 2 Lagos Field Office.
Dr. Edun was our guest last Friday on Crux of the Matter live tweetchat session to answer our questions on Family Planning. Although we had limited time, hence he could not answer all our questions, a lot was touched. As we hope to have representative from DEVCOMS/NURHI again, soon, Read extensive excerpt below;
What is Family Planning?
Family planning is the ability of a man, woman or couple to voluntary decide how many children they want to have, when they want to have them and how much space they want in between. It is also having children by choice and not by chance.
For unmarried people, family planning is simply planning your future, how best you want it happen. Having time for your education, your career, without undue interruptions. And also having children we can adequately cater for, but financially and emotionally. Being able to provide for them, all the love and attention and care they need
Importance of Family Planning
For men, it allows them function without any fear of un-intended pregnancy. There’s a certain peace of mind that comes with it. It allows the man focus. Might lead to increased wealth for the family
For the children, the waiting period allows the mother the time to properly take care of the kids. This has been seen to reduce hospital trips, deaths rate among under 5 children and increase school enrolment.
For the woman, it allows for the woman to return to her healthy pre pregnancy state, ensuring that she is healthy enough to carry the next pregnancy. Thus limiting her risk of complication and even death in the subsequent pregnancy.
Benefits of family planning
It saves LIVES…WOMEN, MEN & CHILDREN.
Family Planning improves the financial state of families, allowing them time to work, save and invest, thus providing a way out of generational poverty.
It provides a situation where the government of the day can adequately take care of, and plan for its citizens, providing them with better education, infrastructure, healthcare, good roads, and good governance.
Disadvantages of family planning
It has its side effects like with any other drug. It is also not a 100%. However, these side effect can be managed adequately and not everyone reacts the same. It is advised that all side effects are made known to an intended user before a decision is made.
It is not advisable that one must use a method just because her friend(s), or relatives uses a particular method. Our body systems are different & react differently. A decision to use a method should only be taken after due consultation with a medical provider.
Age of Family Planning Introduction.
In a country like Nigeria where early marriages are still a norm, Family planning education should be started as soon as possible
Prevention they say is better than cure. We do not wait until the sexual debut has taken place before educating people. In my opinion, sexuality education should be started in secondary school, taught by experienced teachers.
family planning education is for every adult, teenage, adolescents and young adult. It is a right due to us all.
Family Planning is not just for couples;
The Youths, Adolescents and Young adults who are just starting their lives need to know about family planning, so they don’t throw their future away as a result of an unintended pregnancy. Most girls drop out of school and never go back once they become pregnant.
Young girls are exposed to criminal and unsafe abortions because of the poor knowledge on use of family planning, and risk dying from such acts. Teenage pregnancy, abortions and deaths are on the increase due to poor knowledge of family planning.
Family planning methods
There are various types of family planning methods. There’re the natural methods and the modern methods.
For the modern methods, there’re the barrier methods, which are your condoms.
Other modern methods include the hormonal methods (Pills, Injectable and Implants), & the IUCDs.
The pills are taken daily, the injectables last for 1, 2 or 3 months depending on the type chosen, while the implants last for 3 to 5 years. The IUCDs last for 10years. And they are all REVERSIBLE.
A woman may wish to discontinue the use of any reversible method even before the expiration dates, and still have her fertility return to status quo.
There are also the permanent methods which are non-reversible, vasectomy for men and bilateral tubal ligation for women. This is only advisable for people who have completed their family size.
How effective are the different types of family planning? Which is most effective?
Modern family planning methods are relatively very effective with efficacy rate as high as 99.99%. However it MUST be stated here clearly that only ABSTINENCE is a 100% safe
Natural family planning are however not as effective. Most depend on the menstrual cycle of the woman which for some women might not be as regular and thus can be misleading.
The best method however is the method chosen by an individual only after due consultation with a trained and certified Family Planning service provider.
It is not a “one size fits all” affair. Different methods are best for different people. Know about the methods, Talk to a family planning service provider & Go for the most appropriate method that suits you
What factors are considered when choosing a contraceptive method?
A lot of factors are considered before a method is chosen.
1) The desire for children must be totally understood.
2) Any past and/or current health conditions must be taken into account
Also, we MUST ensure the woman is not pregnant as at the time of choosing a method. As a result, a pregnancy test is a prerequisite before a method is given.
Before a method is chosen, a Family planning service provider is expected to have given the client (man, woman and/or couples) a balanced counselling, before allowing them to voluntary decide which method is most appropriate.
Common misconceptions and barrier of family planning
Some tradition say if you do not give birth to all the children in your womb, one day, you will just drop down and die. This totally untrue with no medical correlation.
Some people erroneously believe that family planning causes infertility. There’s no study or research known to me that has been able to prove this. There’re too many people who are living proof that this is not true
Also, some people believe that family planning causes excessive bleeding. While bleeding is a side effect, we counsel women that while spotting maybe normal, & stops without any intervention, any abnormal bleeding or heavy menstruation should be reported to the clinic.
Some people say our religion is against family planning. That also has been found to be untrue as well. As far we know, both the Christian and Islamic faith support family planning as evidence in the holy books
Some people also believe it results in excessive weight gain. Again, although some methods have been associated with minimal weight gain due to water retention, the use of family planning does not result in excessive weight gain.
Exercise & healthy diet is key.
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