FPAM Mobile Clinics Excite Villagers
A UN Joint Programme on Girls Education (UNJPGE) III that Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM) is implementing in Mangochi has gained support from communities in hard-to-reach areas, mostly due to its mobile clinic component.
FPAM is targeting hard to reach places offering family planning methods to communities, including in and out of school youth.
Members of the community have described the project as a solution to youths in remote places where health facilities to provide them with family planning services are very far.
According to the members of the community, the FPAM mobile clinics have also helped in dispelling the negative attitude that people have towards modern family planning methods due to myths and briefs.
“Here, most people believe that you cannot use family planning methods before having a child because chances of having one in future becomes uncertain,” said Atupele Tsoka, 18-year-old mother of one from Mpitilira in the area of Senior Chief Mponda during a media tour.
She added: “The coming of the mobile clinics in the area has assisted both young and old women to start getting family methods and counselling at their door step thereby dispelling some of the myths.”
However, Atupele complained that sometimes the services are erratic and for those that use short term methods of family planning it becomes difficult to sustain.
Group Village Headman Kalino, said easy access to family planning methods is complementing government's readmission policy which encourages girls who drop out of school due to pregnancy to go back to school after they give birth.
“We always encourage our subjects to use family planning methods but the question has been where to access the services and now FPAM has provided the answer,” said Kalino.
A Health Surveillance Assistant servicing the area, Kakosa Mulenga, said the demand for family planning methods in the area is increasing
by each passing day as the only nearby health facility, Katema Health Centre, is under Christian Health Association of Malawi where they don’t provide modern family planning methods.
Mulenga said about 100 injections for family planning are consumed by members of the community in the area within days.
FPAM project officer, Jimmy Kachale, said as an organisation, they are happy that communities are able to access the services easily.
Kachale said, despite the challenges that were brought by Covid-19 as few people were accessing health services, they will make sure that they should work hand in hand with the ministry of health to make sure that there is constant supply of services.
FPAM is implementing mobile clinics in Mangochi, Salima, Dedza and Kasungu where the UNJPGE programme is being implemented.
The UNJPGE is a collaborative effort of the Government of Malawi with technical support from three United Nations agencies (WFP, UNICEF and UNFPA) and it is funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
The UNJPGE commenced in 2014 and it is in its third phase which is aimed at strengthening and consolidating gains made in the two previous phases.
The project uses multi-sectoral approach to address barriers to quality education for girls and boys and promote sustainable solutions.