TCIHC Urban Tales: Creating Family Planning Coaches Within the Health System in Indore
Contributor: Parul Saxena
Rajni Pandey is an auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM) in Malharganj zone, Indore, Madhya Pradesh. Her story below is part of a series from The Challenge Initiative for Healthy Cities (TCIHC) 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.
Years ago, in a tribal area of Madhya Pradesh, Rajni witnessed the death of a 15-year-old girl who had just given birth for the second time.
I was just 22 years old myself and had completed only one year in my job as an ANM. Upon the death of the young mother, all of us were very sad. And, I still recall that the doctor had said family planning could have prevented this young woman’s death.”
Forever etched in her mind, this sad memory motivates her to promote family planning.
I am committed to offering family planning services to both men and women as a way to save lives. While providing family planning services, I ensure screening clients properly by checking weight, blood pressure, hemoglobin and ruling out pregnancy. I orient and counsel male group meetings in slum areas to increase knowledge and change mindsets related to family planning. As a result, I have motivated three men for non-scalpel vasectomy.”
Rajni is trained in providing the full range of contraceptive methods, including intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) insertion and injectable contraceptives (Antara). She conducts regular meetings with Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) in her area and coaches them to better plan household visits by first properly filling out their registers and using them to prioritize visits and deliver tailored counseling messages. Rajni and the ASHAs she coaches follow a systematic approach to ensure that all eligible couples in the community receive family planning information and have access to their methods of choice. She explains:
With the help of ASHAs, we keep a record of couples that are newlyweds and those who have one child, and approach them on a priority basis for family planning counseling. Whenever an ASHA faces any challenge, I accompany her during the home visit and support in family planning counseling.”
Rajni firmly believes that family planning is key to the health and well-being of the entire population. Her passion and commitment towards promotion of family planning was acknowledged by the Indore government on Aug. 15, 2019, when she was recognized as the best performing ANM.