TCIHC Urban Tales: Ujjain Dispensary Lady Health Visitor Becomes Preferred Family Planning Counselor
Contributors: Izhar Uddin Qureshi and Parul Saxena
A long queue stood outside the counseling room at the Chhatrichowk civil dispensary in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. But Maya Yogi, a lady health visitor (LHV) stationed there, was in no hurry. She knows how important it is to allow each client the time they need for often culturally sensitive discussions about family planning. She believes that establishing good rapport with clients and allowing sufficient time for an in-depth conversation helps reduce anxiety and eliminate their fears.
When The Challenge Initiative for Healthy Cities (TCIHC) helped the dispensary initiate a fixed day static/family planning day (FDS) approach, the team found that Maya was well-suited to be trained on IUCDs and Antara. Once re-oriented, she was given the basket of choice job aid and also trained on effective counseling skills. Maya was already a good counsellor and these new opportunities developed her interest further in family planning.
The following story is part of TCIHC’s series called “Urban Tales,” occasional real-life stories of women and girls benefiting from TCIHC’s work supporting local governments to implement evidence-based family planning and adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH) solutions.
Maya often tells her clients they have nothing to worry about and gives them her phone number to call her anytime if they are confused or need help. She believes it is important for a service provider to gain the trust of a woman:
After all, her body will undergo changes initially. So, there is a lot of fear of the unknown, even when a woman comes on her own to adopt a family planning method. During a counseling session, I not only describe how a method works but also detail out possible side effects that can occur in the beginning as the body adjusts to a contraceptive. I prefer to use educational materials and job aids to ensure that the client has all of the information needed to make an informed decision. No two clients are the same. I first gauge the knowledge level of the person and then address their queries and concerns regarding family planning methods. This builds trust between my clients and me. I make it a point to clear misconceptions pertaining to contraceptive methods by giving easy to understand examples. Once the clients have accurate information about the methods, they agree and accept the method they want to use.”
The compassion and empathy with which Maya counsels women has not only earned her respect but has made her a preferred family planning service provider. As a result, she was recognized and celebrated by the Ujjain city government for her contributions to the city’s family planning program. In just one year, she has helped 523 women adopt a contraceptive method of their choice.