Women unable to access family planning


SOME women are not freely accessing the available family planning services due to lack of understanding by their husbands, doctor say.
The University of Papua New Guinea School of Medicine and Health Science senior lecturer in obstetrics and gynaecology Dr Arthur Elijah said there were reported cases of husbands removing the family planning implants from the woman’s arm using razor blades.
He said it could be because some husbands and wives does not talk about family planning.
“Family planning is the practice of men and women sitting together and talk about how many children they would have and when to have them,” Elijah said.
He said couple need to understand the importance of family planning, talk about the different family planning methods and choose one that they would work with.
He said involvement of the man in choosing the method was important.
The family planning methods are:

  • The short-term oral contraceptive pill (OCP) where the woman takes one pill per day starting on the first day of her menstrual period, depo provera (injection) which is administered every three months and female and male condoms;
  • the long-term implant which is effective for four to five years and intrauterine device (IUD) which can prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years;
  • the permanent contraceptive non-scalpel vasectomy (NSV) for men and tubal ligation (TL) for women; and,
  • The emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) is for women and girls who have unprotected sex and do not want to get pregnant.

Elijah said family planning was crucial for the health of the mother because every time she become pregnant the risks associated with it were high.
“Statistics shows that it is the first pregnancy that significant numbers of women die from,” he said.
Elijah said planning was important for the health of the child particularly with regards with spacing the births.
He said it was important for fathers and the families to consider how many children they want because of the investment in time, resources and money child rearing required.
He added that if men valued their wives family planning was something they need to seriously think about.
According to Marie Stopes PNG, the benefits of family planning were:

  • Improves maternal and infant health;
  • spaces your children;
  • maximises health and wellbeing;
  • assures income and increase savings;
  • empowers women and men; and,
  • Improves education and career prospects.