Family Planning Around a Campfire

Photo of men around a campfire in Uganda, discussing family planning

To reach the village of Kitugutu, you must be prepared. “The road is not good. You have to move out of your car and walk. It can be terrible, and on a motorcycle—deadly.”

None of this stops Harriet Kengonzi, a registered midwife, from making the trip. Pathfinder regularly transports her and a team of providers to this remote area in western Uganda.

“Since April, I’ve been here five times. Whenever I have time off from the hospital, and there is outreach, I come. But today is different.”

For two days, with the help of Pathfinder and our local partners, Harriet and her team deliver critical services—family planning, maternal and newborn care, child immunization, and HIV—in a network of tents.

Then, at night, they build a campfire, relying on its magnetic glow to attract villagers. Groups of local men, who are key decision makers in their community, warm themselves beside it, while they engage in discussion about their sexual and reproductive health.

“We announced the mobilization very well,” Harriet says, her face glowing. “We got huge numbers. Tomorrow, we expect even more.”

Q&A with Harriet

This month, at an outreach clinic in one of the most remote parts of Uganda, Harriet sat down with Pathfinder Uganda staff for a Q&A about her important work.

Why are you here?
 
Photo of health care provider providing counseling in rural Uganda
Harriet Kengozi providing antenatal care to a woman in Kitugutu, one of 50 Harriet served that day.

I’ve been here in this village five times. Whenever I have time off from the hospital, and there is an outreach, I come. I first came in April.

Today is unique. We are camping at the site. We are going to be with the villagers for two days.

Can you describe what it was like when you arrived this morning?

By the time we reached the site, it was around 9:30 AM. People were already waiting for us. In my department, I couldn’t even come out to take the number of people. I worked on around 50 mothers. My role in the camp is antenatal care, examining pregnant mothers, counseling mothers on hospital delivery (although it is very far).

How far?

It’s around 60 KM (~37 miles) to nearest hospital. If a woman has complications during labor, her life is in danger. She can die. The hospital is too far and there are no midwives here, in case a woman goes into labor in the middle of the night.

You talked with 50 women today. Did any woman’s story stand out?

One woman I talked with has been delivering kids here at her own home by herself. She is carrying her seventh pregnancy. She can die during that time, when she has nobody to attend to her.

How will today, and what these women experience, help them?

They are accessing services. Today, the women were happy. I examined them. Some don’t know how old the pregnancy is. They’d ask, “Am I almost delivering?” when the pregnancy is in a very early stage. Others, barely show, but the pregnancy is coming to term. I don’t think they have 2 weeks, and they didn’t have any idea.

I have encouraged most of them to go to the hospital. Said, “You have little time. Your baby will soon come. You better begin moving toward the health center.”

Was everyone receptive to what you were telling them?

Some still say they can make it at home, the way they used to. They need a lot of counseling and education. We are losing very many mothers.

Why is their need for family planning urgent?

The fertility rate here is very high. When parents bring their kids for immunization, I can see the birth spacing is very poor. The attention given to those small kids is not enough. The more babies a mother delivers, the weaker she becomes and the more complications. So family planning is very important.

Why don’t more couples use it then?

Some think implants, like Implanon, can reach their heart. Others fear that when they use it, it will destroy sexual pleasures. They need information. When we come out here, their anxieties are lessened. When you really educate people about family planning and how it works—they really USE it.

How do you educate them?

First, we point out all the methods we have. Then we talk about each, help a woman select the one that is right for her. We also give women our phone numbers. “Call on me and I will advise you,” we say. And we explain, “I personally have used that method.” They have developed trust in us.

What about services for young people?

I admit—before I had a negative view of a young person who comes for family planning, that they are too young. But my attitude has changed. Pathfinder has trained me in youth-friendly services. I know that if a young girl comes for services, and I don’t give her family planning, she will still have sex and possibly get pregnant. She may try to have an abortion and die. I have learned to counsel her and give the method.

Have you seen changes since coming here?

Yes. Take this one woman. Today, she said, “It was really terrible for me. I was pregnant every day, suffering.” But now, with family planning, “I’ve been able to do something for myself. I can dig. I have tried to construct a house.  I am free. I can get up.’

What about the other services, like immunization, how are they helping?

Before we started, you’d meet a two year old who has never had any immunization. At two. Nowadays, since we’ve started doing outreach, it is flowing. They bring the child every month.

It’s important that villagers can get all the services close. Before, they couldn’t carry all of their children to the hospital; it was too far.

How has this village benefited from the program?

What I see—this program has promoted their health. Kids are being immunized. Mothers are offered services. They are treated before they ever reach complications. Also, people are treated for HIV and getting family planning. These services are improving their health and their standard of living.

If you had one message for Pathfinder’s supporters, what would it be?

It’s a request. Please help us get more supplies, so we can really be making something permanent. Maybe even train more providers who can stay here, until government takes up the work. People are suffering and really need services. Villagers ask me, “Can you stay at least for a week?” I really feel bad that we cannot do that right now.

 

Leave a Comment

* Change

Comments

"Asian Tiger" (also published in Zoetrope and available freely online) is my favorite of the collection. I don't think I've ever left a book review before. I needed a seat cover for my leather seats in my car and this Universal set worked perfectly. Not sure how they did it, but they work. Subwoofer If this book was only about Joe Weider and his role in publishing this no doubt would be a stellar book. It works fairly well if you re-educate yourself about the fact that you are using a $9 razor and that you may not be able to use it like a $150 Braun or Panasonic razor. You will enjoy it if you are expecting madness in a David Lynch sort of way and who could not forget DeNiro in his roll as the SAS type plumber flying around the city. This is a great movie, I love it. It also forgot its shape and did not support as well as this one. If I slack off and put it on once a canker sore is larger it seems to speed the healing, though not as dramatically as if I catch it early. Nordost Subwoofer Cable. Pioneer Amp Subwoofer Visit site
Name September 15, 2014
Our own Stephanie Szvan is nominated. So is our dear Digital Cuttlefish! PZ’s in the running. truth on cellulite info
nominated September 13, 2014
I would also motivate just about every person to save this web page for any favorite assistance to assist posted the appearance. review
Name September 8, 2014
I really love your blog.I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying each and every little bit of the article and I have you bookmarked your site to check out new stuff you post. fiba 2014 fiba world cup fiba world cup 2014 fiba live streaming,
fiba September 4, 2014
All of our fellow locals of Kansas Urban center began making use of the industry-leading Sundek combine deck stratum products all over 40 issue. Whether you will be building a different pool plus want your cooler as compared with concrete, non-slip work surface or remodeling footwear pool so that you can freshen a image, the Sundek Timeless Texture Overlay System is a fantastic solution. Pool Deck Coatings
Pool Deck Coatings September 2, 2014
But my attitude has changed. Pathfinder has trained me in youth-friendly services. I know that if a young girl comes for services, and I don’t give her family planning, she will still have sex and possibly get pregnant. voyance retour ex
voyance retour ex September 2, 2014
I have been checking out a few of your stories and i can state pretty good stuff. I will definitely bookmark your blog live wedding band hire
Aaa September 2, 2014
A few corrective steps were encouraged, which involved improved filtering in the lubricant oils in the recycling course of action and intermittent quality command checks involving oil impurities. f4x quick start workout guide pdf
Departments of StateGucci September 2, 2014
Mmm.. good to be here in your article or post, whatever, I think I should also work hard for my own website like I dental implants loxahatchee see some good and updated working in your site.
ali August 31, 2014
This is a great job she is doing there and serving fifty mothers a day is an admirable act by Harriet. I totally appreciate her concern and best essay writing service reviews services she is providing to the women in the Kitugutu. I wish you good luck with your work and missions.
Joseph August 29, 2014
Hey there thanks for showing me this. I must say that your blogpost was the most enjoying read I've seen in a long time. Greetings from how to be rich stop loss order world economy debt ceiling
Aditech August 28, 2014
Professionally i am a blogger and want to earn from that because there is no match in quality of providing best essay services reviews through expert's opinion. When you rate a website that has proper level of management with high quality essay, simultaneously it increases the level and net worth of that website.
john johnson August 27, 2014
I just want to let you know that I just check out your site and I find it very interesting and informative. I can't wait to read lots of your posts labor day 2014 sales labor day sales 2014
Daniel bagh August 27, 2014
A new PSA they just released does just that. It inspired me to want to share. And I hope it will motivate you as well. As the video so eloquently says, it takes all of us because "out there, there is a woman who needs you right now." truth on cellulite info
Departments of StateGucci August 27, 2014
I really enjoy simply reading all of your weblogs. Simply wanted to inform you that you have people like me who appreciate your work. Binary Options
Murphy August 24, 2014
It is a nice article. This site has lots of advantage. I found many interesting things from this site. It helps me many away. Bulk SMS in Nigeria
bulksmsbase.com August 23, 2014
Excellent post you shared. These kinds of posters are very helpful for the peoples who want to learn about music instrument piano and want to play the piano. Your post is really awesome. That is a pretty helpful post.forex brokers
Julissa August 23, 2014
Extremely helpful information particularly the last part :) I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this certain information for a long time Family Survival System Review
Murphy August 21, 2014
Bigg Boss is one of the most controversial TV reality show on the Indian TV, presented by Colors TV. The reality show is produced under the production house of Endemol Production House. bigg boss season 8
vikash August 20, 2014
Scroll to top