You are here

In Uganda, 43% of family planning users stop using a method within 12 months, according to the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey 2011, mainly because they are unaware of the choice in methods.

One of those women is Maratha Dengel. It took her a while before she found a suitable modern family planning method of her choice, but thanks to Marie Stopes outreach camps supported by UNFPA, she is now using a method she is comfortable with. "If I had not got access to family planning I do not know how many other children I would have had," she says. "I am grateful to Marie Stopes for changing my life for the better."

Dengel makes a living as a subsistence farmer in Nakumai village, Napak District in Karamoja. A 36 year-old mother of nine, Dengel had only wanted to have five children. After the fifth child, she began to use Depo-Provera, an injectable contraceptive, but stopped after she experienced heavy bleeding as a side effect. Unfortunately for Dengel, she had not got information and counseling on how the side effects could be managed and on alternative family planning methods. At the local drug shop, her fears were only made worse when she was misinformed that using Depo-Provera would cause cancer. Dengel was terrified to resume using the injectable contraception and subsequently had four more children, making a total of nine.

Because her husband spends the little money they earn on alcohol, the burden of maintaining a family of 11 falls on Dengel's shoulders. But hope was not lost. While discussing her economic hardships with a friend, Dengel was advised to attend a Marie Stopes outreach counseling session to learn about alternative methods of family planning. She found out that there are sev-eral methods and that she needed to find the method that fits her.

At the Marie Stopes outreach camp, Dengel was counseled about family planning methods and she chose to use a permanent method; tubal ligation: an operation which blocks the tube through which the egg will move from the ovary to meet with the sperm. At Dengel's next scheduled appointment, the Marie Stopes outreach team successfully completed the procedure. "I was very pleased with the quick recovery time because I was able to resume my work shortly afterwards. I no longer have to worry about having more children and I can now concentrate on taking care of the ones I have," she says.

With support from UNFPA, Marie Stopes works to mobilise support for uptake of modern family planning methods by women, men and young people. This is done through outreach camps where family planning services are provided alongside other sexual and reproductive health ser-vices in the districts of Arua, Gulu, Yumbe, Mubende, Kanungu, Moroto, Kotido, Kaabong and Oyam.