New Family Planning Champion Addresses Myths in Indore, India, With Reliable Information and Counseling

Mar 19, 2019

Contributors: Trupti Sharma, Parul Saxena and Deepti Mathur

Hemlata (left) speaks with a woman about the benefits of family planning.

Hemlata is an educated, middle class, married career woman living in Indore, India. She recently visited the Aranym Urban Civil Dispensary to get her child immunized on the same day fixed day static (FDS) services for family planning were being offered. She noticed several women going over to a new family planning counseling spot at the dispensary.

This piqued her curiosity so she stopped by and was welcomed by the staff nurse, an accredited social health activist (ASHA) and The Challenge Initiative for Healthy Cities (TCIHC) team. When asked about her family planning needs, she responded uncertainly that she wasn’t sure she needed any services because she was managing it “somehow.” She said she and her husband have one son and use condoms for family planning, but that she sometimes fears becoming pregnant. She mentioned that she and her husband do not want more children, so she was interested in a more reliable long-term solution.

When she heard about the family planning options available, Hemlata was still hesitant because she had heard that the intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) can cause cancer, harm the womb and interfere with sexual intercourse. Even after learning the actual side effects of IUCDs and the truth about these myths and misconceptions, Hemlata left the dispensary without accepting any family planning method.

The ASHA and the TCIHC team later visited Hemlata at home to follow up on her visit. Using the uterus model, the TCIHC team gave a more in-depth explanation of the various methods, showing how they interrupt conception. In addition, the ASHA asked Hemlata if she would like to hear from a satisfied user about her experience using a long-term method.

After talking to a satisfied user from her own community, she asked the ASHA and TCIHC team to visit her again and explain the long-term method option one more time. This time her husband participated in the counseling session, and they expressed a shared interest in the IUCD. On the next FDS family planning day, Hemlata visited the dispensary and received an IUCD.

Hemlata and her husband are now thrilled that they no longer have to worry about unwanted pregnancies. She is now sharing her positive experience with other women in her community and counseling them on the benefits of family planning. This new family planning champion said “many women face health problems because they do not use modern contraceptives and this is preventable.”

As a satisfied user, she advocates for modern contraceptive methods and addresses the related myths. In just one month, she convinced seven women in her community to accept a family planning method.