The following story is part of a series from The Challenge Initiative in India called “Urban Tales,” occasional real-life stories of women and girls in India benefiting from TCI’s work supporting local governments to implement high-impact family planning and adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH) interventions.
Sandhya Kumari is an auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM) at the Iqbal Nagar urban primary health center (UPHC) in Gaya, Bihar. Kumari has a disability that makes walking difficult, but her determination and diligence inspires others as she visits women in their communities.
She was recently recognized by the state government as the division’s best-performing family planning service provider. Kumari believes family planning information and services are crucial because multiple births can adversely impact a woman’s health.
I was initially a little apprehensive about how the communities would respond, but over time, everyone in the community learned that I could provide them with family planning services. I have alone motivated many women to use long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) and other short-term methods. Though I have never received formal training in family planning, I began to provide contraceptive counseling to women based on what I learned from my nursing course, and recently from the TCI India team.
Similarly, urban ASHAs, like me, have not received any family planning training. I support them by providing onsite handholding support and by demonstrating family planning counseling skills. I do field visits to personally counsel eligible couples and mothers who have more than two children. Despite my physical condition, which makes walking difficult, I visit the urban poor who live in Gaya’s mountainous area.
Observing women accept family planning methods keeps me motivated. People usually ask me how I manage my travel and family planning work, but I owe it to almighty, my family and to the TCI India team, who have supported and mentored me. Today, many women on their own reach out to me for family planning related information and services.
This award has overwhelmed me, I can never believe a person who requires assistance can help someone else with a decision that is so important, like family planning.”