Noel Sambou

(JollofNews) – The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in the Gambia last week led a team of reporters from the Network of Journalist on Reproductive Health, Population and Development on a media field visit to their intervention sites.

The visit was aim at giving the reporters a chance to see UNFPA project sites, women groups and initiatives, youth projects, family planning community based distributors, ex-circumcisers among other that they are supporting through their country program in the Gambia.

The first stop was at Foni Kassange, West Coast Region where they visit community based distributors of Family Planning Commodities to see the impact of their work and also know the challenges that surrounds their work.

Noel Sambou, a community based distributor of Family Planning Commodities highlighted some of the challenges her organization is facing in the rural areas.

She said that whenever men hear about Family Planning, they have a notion that it is preventing women from giving birth and to change their perception about it is a problem.

“We are trying our best to sensitise them about Family Planning,” she said.

“We have the injection, condoms and contraceptive pills. Our main constrain as community based distributors is lack of salary and transport to enable us to do our work effectively.  I was given a bicycle by Family Planning for the distribution of contraceptives in various communities but that was a long time ago.”

The retired nurse with over 15 years nursing experience said she been a community based distributor since 1990 and has seen only few men.

Modou Touray

Asked whether they have a youth friendly service for young people, Madam Sambou responded that they have a group of young men that she usually give some Family Planning commodities to distribute in the community.

I do also supply some contraceptives to the local police station because they are also vulnerable,” she added.

“I usually test the women to see whether they have hypertension because I don’t give hypertension patients the services and I also weigh them, examine their breasts, bellies to ascertain whether they are pregnant or not because, some of the women will breastfeed their children until they wean them. They will then wait until they miss their menstruation for one month before coming to me for the Family Planning services. But when they noticed that they are pregnant they will blame family planning for betraying them.”

Modou Touray, a community based distributor of commodities at Kassange Village, said the turnout for women for the Family Planning services is impressive and some of the men are very supportive and they allow their wives to use it.

He added that they do have sensitisation programmes on the importance of family planning in the village.

“To make our work very easy, I am appealing to UNFPA to provide us with transportation to enable us to distribute the Family Planning commodities to the people and also to allocate funds for us,” he said.