Negative myths and misconceptions about family planning are barriers to modern contraceptive use. 

Katavi region is among the regions in Tanzania with the low uptake of family planning, from 18% in 20215 to 22% in 2023 as indicated in the current Tanzania Demographic Health Survey.  Slow progress of family planning uptake is contributed by different factors including religious belief, myth, and misconceptions that use of contraceptives cause infertility, damage the womb and the side effect is nonstop. 

Torad Jackson Nzeimana is a Community Health Worker (CHW) from Ifumbila village located in Mishamu ward of Tanganyika District Council which is supported by USAID Afya Shirikishi Project. Torad Jackson is among the CHWs who have contributed to reach a total of 23,128 people with sexual reproductive health and family planning messages between January and March 2023 in Katavi region. 

The CHW are playing a vital role on addressing myth and misconception in the communities using appropriate messages through community mobilization and engagement, conduct community dialogues that sensitize and awareness raising to communities to develop positive behavior on the use family planning contraceptives. 

Torad Jackson the CHW happen to meet 26 years old woman, named Sikujua Mbike during the family planning community dialogue. Sikujua expressed to have seven children. However, her last two children are weak because they need special attention and diet to help them fix their health condition. The CHW diffuses the importance of using family planning contraceptive to her and usefulness of supporting child growth. Sikujua was reluctant by showing negative perception and cemented by her belief that using family planning methods is against the will of God. In the interval of one week, the CHW visited Sikujua Mbike again to see if she had cleared her misunderstanding about using modern contraceptive, yet she was on the same position and adding more myth that family planning can cause sterility and cervical cancer. With this disappointment feedback, the CHW did give up and continued to visit Sikujua more often for awareness raising on family planning services and how it is importance for building a healthy family. 

One day during the regular household visit, the CHW again reach Sikujua house and happen to meet Sikujua husband. The CHW invited James Rongo who is the Sikujua husband to participate in the community family planning dialogue, and he did participate. After the session, the CHW asked James Rongo to share his opinion on the topic of family planning discussed, he replied “It was good, but you know these things…”

Community Health Worker (CHW) of Mishamo ward (Mr. Torad Jackson Nzeimana) discussing family planning issue with Sikujua and her husband during the household visit. Picture taken by TCDC RSBCC Officer, Msema Bitangacha.

After one month later, the CHW decided to visit the household of James Rongo and initiate the discussion again. This time James was touched by the discussion and declared to health facility to access modern family planning contraceptive to support the wellbeing of his wife and children. 

Six months later, during the community mobilization and engagement of family planning Sikujua and her husband James shared their testimony; “we are very grateful to Torad the CHW for his commitment and consistence diffusion of family planning health education has finally helped and fix the health condition of our kids. As you can see now, since my wife started using Implanon the health condition of our kids has improved significantly, and we have enough time to focus on our agriculture activities. We are very sorry for inconvenience we have caused to you during your awareness raising work to serve the community.”

Author: Nazir Yusuph (FP&TB SBC Coordinator)

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