Bagale is rural community located in a hard-to-reach area of Fufore LGA in Adamawa State. The people of the community, who are predominantly fishermen and dry season farmers, did not know much about family planning and other sexual and reproductive health issues. Many of the women had more children than they wanted and could do nothing about this because of their religious and cultural beliefs. They believed that children were gifts from God and family planning was not permitted by God.
A certain reproductive health NGO in collaboration with the Primary Healthcare Center (PHC) in Pariya organized a community outreach program where they introduced and provided contraceptives to women of Bagale. During this outreach, many of the women opted in for various family planning methods. However, they did not receive adequate information on the side effects of the methods that were administered. The community outreach did not adequately sensitize the entire community. A couple of methods after the family planning services were rendered; the women began to complain of heavy bleeding, lower abdominal pains, and other side effects. They did not quite understand what was happening to them and became frightened. Their husbands heard these complaints and reported them to the Village Head. They informed him that their wives and wards under care had been given contraceptives which they think can stop them from giving birth and many of the women were bleeding heavily. On hearing this, the Village Head ordered that all women should immediately remove the contraceptives that had been inserted.
At the time this order was given, Ipas had just started its intervention in the same community through the Grace and Hope Youth Foundation (GHYF), a community-based organization. Through GHYF, Ipas was able to calm their fears and stop the situation, which was becoming worse. GHYF paid an advocacy visit to the Village Head and other relevant community gatekeepers and advocated for the following:
- Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)
- Family Planning (FP) and child spacing
- Prevention of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV)
- Post-abortion care (PAC)
- Protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (PSEA)
It was at this point that the Village Head and the gatekeepers received complete and correct information on family planning and child spacing and other reproductive health issues. The Village Head tasked the gatekeepers to go into the churches, mosques, markets places etc. to create awareness on what they had heard and learned. He immediately reversed the order he had given on the removal of the contraceptives. Instead he asked all women experiencing any side effect to return to the PHC supported by Ipas for assessment and sensitization and dialogue meetings so that his people can get more education.