Contribution of Community Mobilization Towards Participation in Family Planning Services in Iganga District
Author: NANTEZA ANGELA MERIS
Supervisor: Kabanda Richard
Introduction Family planning servicesí uptake in Iganga district, like in many other peri-urban and rural districts in Uganda is still low, despite different strategies employed by government and other different organizations in family planning service provision. There has been efforts by different agencies to ensure involvement of communities in supporting initiatives intended at increasing use of family planning services. However, little is still known in communities about the contribution of community mobilization towards participation in family planning services. The purpose of this study was to assess the contribution of community mobilization towards uptake of family planning methods in Iganga District.
Methods: This purely qualitative descriptive cross sectional study employed a grounded theory design. We conducted 14 focus group discussions (FGDs), 11 key informant interviews (KIIs), 9 In-depth interviews (IDIs) and documentary checklist. Data was analyzed using both inductive and deductive approaches which determined emerging themes in the study.
Findings: The Contribution of Community Mobilization towards Family Planning Uptake was in form of Sensitization of men, VHTs working with health service providers, village health teams that were trained in family planning services had closely worked with the health service providers from the catchment area health centers and hospitals and the rest of the stakeholders engaged in the provision of family planning services. It was also found that village health teams were instrumental in reminding respondents to take their oral contraceptives like pills. The study found out that much as VHTs work closely with health providers to engage communities by using, drama, songs, stories and activities to make health messages interesting and increase the likelihood of remembering messages. The Barriers to community mobilization for family planning included: Skepticism about family planning services, religious beliefs, and patriarchal nature of society, side effects of family planning methods, fear of infertility, and another emerging barrier to community mobilization for family planning uptake in Iganga was infertility. Other barriers included, Limited appreciation of male contraception, poor motivation of VHT volunteers, Lack of adequate skills. On the basis of strategies for community mobilization for the uptake of family planning in Iganga Community based family panning initiatives (CBFP) programmes, included mobile outreaches, community radios, peer to peer counseling, group counseling, and community meetings. At the center of these initiatives are the community health workers (CHWs) like village health teams (VHTs).
Conclusions and Recommendations: - Community mobilization enhances uptake of family planning and health services in general. Government should allocate adequate resources for facilitating the community health mobilizers like VHTs. Have more and frequent training of the VHTs would equip them with a wide range of information that they can share with community. Thereís need to bring male expert clients on board since they might be a softer spot to encourage other men join in the effort to improve uptake of family planning services. Thereís need for accelerated public awareness and education talks to demystify the myths and misconceptions of contraceptive usage since it ranks high on the major hindrances to family planning.