Contraceptive Choice Is Critical, Regardless of Family Size

Published on September 22, 2022

Alice Angeyo, a 35-year-old mother of 10 from Magwi County in South Sudan, was brought to Abara Primary Healthcare Center (PHCC) following a miscarriage at home. She and her husband, Boyi Opoka, 35, were immediately referred to Magwi PHCC, a Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care center, for treatment. Both facilities are supported by MOMENTUM Integrated Health Resilience, which provides staff training and mentoring as well as contraceptives and infection prevention, among other maternal and child health services.

Alice Angeyo and her two-year-old daughter at a one-on-one counseling session with MOMENTUM FP Mentor Doreen Apio at Abara Primary Healthcare Center, Magwi County. Credit: Male Herbert, Corus International

After successful treatment at Magwi PHCC, Alice and Boyi were given one-on-one counseling by a trained mentor who provided comprehensive information on family planning (FP) benefits and methods, as well as on contraceptive side effects and side effects management. These FP mentors work with both clients and staff to distribute information, provide job skills and mentoring, address barriers to family planning, and strengthen links between communities and facilities to improve continuity of care. After 15 years of marriage, this was the first time the couple received information about family planning, specifically how and why to space births. As a result, the couple opted for a three-year implant to provide Alice with time to recover and adequately care for their children.

South Sudan ranks among countries with the highest rates for maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, the number of births per mother, and the number of younger women and girls bearing children. It also has one of the lowest rates in the world of use of modern contraception. To help meet these challenges, over 400 health workers, including FP Mentors, have been trained at 24 facilities across South Sudan by USAID MOMENTUM Integrated Health Resilience since 2021.

Along with family planning and reproductive health, MOMENTUM supports maternal, newborn and child health, nutrition, immunization, and other health services at the health facilities and clinics and trains staff on integrated health approaches.  So when Alice brought along her two-year-old daughter to the appointment to receive her contraceptive implant at Abara PHCC, staff noticed the child had possible health problems, and she was admitted for nutrition care after a screening revealed that the little girl was experiencing malnutrition.

“If I had known earlier about the benefits of child spacing, I would not have experienced a near life-threatening situation of losing a pregnancy, while also caring for a child with malnutrition,” said Alice. “I encourage my fellow women in Iwire Payam (her community) to seek health care and family planning at the Abara PHCC.”

Learn more about MOMENTUM Integrated Health Resilience and our work in South Sudan.

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