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Service providers dispel misconceptions, offer consultations at the Sadat family health unit in Matrouh

In the Sadat Family Health Unit in the governorate of Matrouh, Dr. Aaza Abdel Baky works with a team of service providers to make sure that women get all the family planning services and consultations they need.

“Outreach workers go door to door to raise pregnant women’s awareness around family planning and follow up with them if they have any questions regarding family planning,” Dr. Abdel Baky, Head of Family Planning in Matrouh, says.

Today Dr. Abdel Baky and her colleagues are exceptionally happy, as since October 24, all family planning methods have become free.

Eman Gaber, a nurse at the Family Health Unit, says that one of her roles is to debunk the myths women believe about family planning methods.

“One woman told us that she feels the contraceptive implant ‘Implanon’ is causing her back pain,” Mona Askar, Family Planning Nursing Supervisor at the Health Unit, recalls. “Another woman, who’s using pills, said that her friend told her the pills have a negative impact on eyesight.”

Askar points at a thick manual on the table inside the consultation room. She explains that there is a section on misconceptions in this consultation guide provided by the Ministry of Health and Population. Service Providers use it to help them address such myths.

Hanan Shehata, Family Planning Specialist at the Sadat Family Health Unit, explains the two types of consultations they provide for women.

Specific consultation is provided when the women want to use or ask about a specific family planning method. Service providers learn more about her condition, give her a checkup and then offer her advice on whether this method is suitable for her or not.

General consultation is provided when the beneficiary does not have a specific type of family planning method in mind. The same process happens and then they introduce to her the most suitable contraception choices for her.

Matrouh, which lies in the far Western North of Egypt, has the largest number of mobile clinics in Egypt (25 mobile clinics).

Under the EU Support to Egypt's National Population Strategy project, which aims at increasing the use of voluntary, rights-based family planning, a campaign was launched in the governorate in 2019 reaching 2231 women, with family planning services and counseling.

The project also built the capacity of physicians on the insertion of “Implanon” and the latest medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use, as well as nurses on counseling and management of family planning clinics. Outreach workers were also trained on using a package that includes scientific background as well as on communication skills to address constraining social norms.

Under the project, five Women Health Clubs were refurbished, and hosted seminars reaching over 400 women with family planning messages. Moreover, the needs of the warehouses in Matrouh were assessed and will be refurbished by the end of 2020.

Finally, officials were trained on developing standard operating procedures for the Logistics Management Information System (LMIS), designed to manage family planning commodities as well as aggregate, analyze, validate and display data.