By Halimatou Ceesay
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Sunday launched another Family Planning (FP) Campaign in Central River Region.
The Campaign that initially started at North Bank Region, Upper River Region and Lower River Region has been extended to the rest of the regions of the Gambia- Central River Region and Western Region with the theme Family Planning: Yes to choice, No to chance.
The purpose of the Campaign was to increase and strengthen male involvement in Family planning, dispel myths Family planning and other diseases. It also includes the FP Campaign, seminars, film shows, sensitization of husbands and household heads called (Husband school), two-day regional football tournaments involving four villages, house to house campaign with youths, disseminate information of FP and scale uptake of services by young people.
Among the expected outcome, the football tourney will be used as a strategy in attracting more people from different villages in order to disseminate messages on Family Planning. There would be screening/counseling on the following diseases i.e. cervical cancer, breast cancer screening, HIV/AIDS counseling to enable the team to mobilize people and serve as an entry point to accessing FP information and services.
The campaign started in Bansang with Cervical cancer screening by the SOS mothers’ clinic, family planning counseling and HIV/AIDS counseling and testing. There was a commodity distribution by Gambia Family Planning Association (GFPA).
During cervical cancer screening, Salimatou Sanneh, former Traditional Birth Attendant, now called Birth Companion from Bansang shed light on the importance of Family Planning for women.
She said Family Planning helps to solve lots of problems for both men and women. “When women or men get sick and come to Family Planning clinic, they are usually referred to the hospital and when the problem is detected, they will be advised to bring their partners so that they can also be treated as well.”
The husband school takes place at State Enroll Nurse (SEN) in Bansang with the aim of having a dialogue on Family Planning, wellbeing and other related health issues with husbands and head of household to raise their awareness on the issues so as to enable them to participate actively in it at their various houses.
Ousman Bah a participant at the husband school said there should be a dialogue for people to understand Family Planning. Bah said the Family Planning helps women to understand the importance as it is paramount to their health. He added that the womb is light and giving birth every time could lead to death. “Whenever our women are due to deliver, the nurses will request for their husband’s attendance and will also counsel them to encourage their women to do birth spacing”.
The campaign team however later headed to Armitage football field in Jangjanbureh for the football tournament, where Niani played against Brikama-Ba in a tough and interested game and the match ended in 1 nil in favor of Brikama-Ba.
The second game was McCarthy versus Bansang, both team show maturity and display of skills and tactics during the game and McCarthy won.
The defending champions in each of the game Jangjanbureh and Brikama-Ba are expected to play the final tournament set for Tuesday.
The team headed to Boraba for a night film show on the various thematic areas.