Private sector health care providers across all DFID intervention districts in Pakistan have contributed immensely towards improving the health of married women of reproductive age (MWRAs) in Pakistan, particularly in areas of reproductive health (RH) and family planning (FP). This is the story of a FP new user whose increasingly aggravated health was restored after meeting with a Greenstar provider supported by DFID.
Sonia Bibi is a 25 year old mother of three young children living in a small down in Faisalabad district. Life has not been easy for her. She works as a maid in the community and has a very non-cooperative husband in terms of earning and fulfilling his responsibilities toward his family. Sonia provides the only source of income for her family. Married for 5 years, she has already been pregnant 4 times. She is a regular client of Dr. Farhat Shaheen, a nearby Sabz Sitara provider. Dr. Farhat has conducted 2 deliveries and 2 Dilation and Curettage (D&C) procedures for Sonia. Her first delivery was performed by another doctor.
Prior to her association with Greenstar Dr. Farhat only routinely counseled Sonia on the benefits of birth spacing and encouraged her to adopt a suitable contraceptive method. She planned on referring her to a trained doctor (in family planning services) in case she agreed to adopt a FP method, since the Dr. Farhat’s expertise, regarding Family Planning services, were only limited to client counseling. Despite Dr. Farhat’s comprehensive counseling, Sonia has always resisted adopting a FP method.
After receiving her Family Planning Advance Training from Greenstar, Dr. Farhat informed Sonia about her new association (with Greenstar) and counseled Sonia for birth spacing more effectively. This, she counsels, is in the best interest of Sonia, her children and her family. Healthy birth spacing will allow her sufficient time to recover from pregnancy and childbirth, thus enabling her to provide her newborn with an optimal start. Dr. Farhat also informed Sonia that incase she agrees, Dr. Farhat would herself provider the service. This was the first time when Sonia showed positive attitude towards the provider in regard with her FP counseling, however she still didn’t opt for any method.
In early 2016 Sonia visited Dr. Farhat’s clinic. Her health had been increasingly deteriorating and her hemoglobin level was dangerously low at 7.8. Looking at her health condition, Dr. Farhat again counseled Sonia on the benefits of contraception. Another pregnancy could be catastrophic. Sonia had heard some myths regarding Protect 5 in past. She discussed her concerns with Dr. Farhat and Dr. Farhat cleared all her misconceptions via diagrammatic demonstrations using Greenstar’s counseling flip chart.
Thankfully, Sonia agreed to adopt a long term method of FP. That day Dr. Farhat inserted Protect 5, an IUCD effective for 5 years. This would allow Sonia’s body sufficient time to recover and regain strength. After inserting the IUCD, Sonia’s blood pressure fluctuated; Dr. Farhat kept her under observation until it stabilized. Only then did she allow Sonia to return home. Sonia is now very happy with her FP choice and sincerely thankful to Dr. Farhat for her timely counseling.
Dr. Farhat shared that “Sonia only had 50 Rs. when she came to my clinic 6 months after delivering her last child. She was in dire need of my help and I treated her free of cost because I have always prioritized the health of my over my business interests. She has only nice things to say about Greenstar’s efforts and my dedication towards her health. Later she sent three other ladies from her extended family to my clinic for antenatal checkups due to her utmost trust and satisfaction with the care received.”
Sonia’s mother-in-law was also very happy with Sonia’s decision and shared “I am satisfied that my daughter-in-law is now healthy and has decided to adopt a long term birth spacing method, all thanks to the nice Doctor for not giving up on Sonia and continuing to counsel. We are poor people and can only afford three kids; This decision has also helped us with our financial struggles. I believe now Sonia can take care of her kids better in terms of their basic needs of life.”