Doing Family Planning in Short-term Projects: Good Local Activities Suffer Print

Highlights of an interview by Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH) with Dr. Marie-Claude Mbuyi, Family Planning Coordinator, Eglise du Christ au Congo (ECC) 

CCIH: What problems do you see in family planning activities in the Health Zones you assist throughout the Democratic Republic of Congo?

Dr. Mbuyi: Many different problems affect us here. Some are cultural and religious, but others have to do with the way projects are being run. Here’s what I mean:

• Lack of training -- Untrained medical personnel are often a barrier. Many are prejudiced against family planning. They exaggerate the side effects of contraceptive methods. This may be largely because the topic is lacking in basic medical training, where often FP is taught only to gynecologists, not to nurses. For a given health zone that ECC is assisting, we can’t train everyone, only one or two people. But everybody needs the FP training, including the doctors!  

• Planning and budgeting – The DRC is divided into 515 Health Zones. Less than 50% of them are currently being helped by any donor organizations (and not all of those donors include family planning).

• Our greatest difficulty at present is that all our family planning is currently linked to projects, and projects have a limited lifespan.

CCIH: Can you give examples? 

Dr. Mbuyi: In some Health Zones, we at ECC, along with the local personnel, spent a lot of time breaking down both medical and community barriers, and creating a demand for family planning. Then the project ended, and the training and contraceptive supplies ended. Under the previous SANRU Project, we worked with many Health Zones in Bandundu Region and Bas-Congo Region, and family planning activities were going well. When that Project ended, the Zones in those regions became “orphans” without regular donor support. Now, fortunately, a few of them have been incorporated in a new project. But no project can be counted on for very long.  We need to work under a permanent family planning program, with more permanent activities and funding. Only that way can family planning be more durable in Congo.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 09 October 2012 18:28 )