Fatou Sowe in CRR
The family planning campaign team has this time around made a unique addition to the campaign by introducing what is called the “husband school”. These target husbands and male household heads and sensitise them on the concept of family planning in the context of family wellbeing in general.
The first activity was held in Bansang in the Central River Region .
Alieu Jammeh, coordinator of the UNFPA supplies, said they realised that the contraceptive prevalence rate is very low at about 9% based on the 2013 Demograhic Health Survey as a result of which they came up with this activity to ensure the uptake of family planning is enhanced.
He said the inclusion of the “husband schools” is relevant to the campaign because from a socio-cultural perspective men are more dominant in the society, as heads of households and therefore, many decisions that affect the reproductive health of their wives, particularly family planning, rest on them.
According to him, men as decision-makers in most households have now taken the lead.
“We know that in the past, particularly in the health sector, women are more enlightened about current issues than men because they go to health facilities often for pregnancy antenatal services, infant welfare services and also post-natal services. With that, they are more informed about the health system. So they are more in contact than the males,” he said.
He disclosed that during the design phase of the family planning campaign, they engaged women first but that resulted in a lot of problems as the men became very sceptical. He said they then realised that they should take up couple-counselling on family planning matters.
Ousman Bah, a participant at the husband schools activity said there should be dialogue for people to understand family planning issues. He said family planning helps women to space births which is important for their health. Bah further disclosed that whenever their women are due for delivery, the nurses will request for the husbands to attend and would also counsel them to encourage their women to do space pregnancies.
Famara Fatty of the Reproductive and Child Health Unit at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare said the husband school is very encouraging because men will understand more about family planning.