Stories: Family Planning

  • In Northern Uganda, Male Mentors Spread the Word on Family Planning

    GULU, UGANDA – When Josephine Lamwaka was growing up, she watched her father abuse her mother almost every day, sometimes even threatening to kill her with a machete. Lamwaka’s father also forbade her mother from using contraception or visiting the local family planning clinic. With her parents as her only model for marriage, Lamwaka, 30, didn’t expect...

  • In Senegal, family planning finds a key ally: imams

    The mosque loudspeaker crackles to life, just as it does five times a day, every day, in this quiet village just outside the Senegalese capital, Dakar. But instead of the typical melodious call to prayer, the voice booming from the minaret is all business. “If you are interested in learning about your family-planning options, please come to the health...

  • Why IUD Access in India Falls Short

    Shilpi, 25, has two young daughters and wants to wait at least five years before she tries for a son. She uses birth control pills, which she gets alternately from her accredited social health activist (ASHA), a community health worker in her rural village in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, or from the local community health center. But the...

  • How This Clinic Has Changed a Nation’s View of Family Planning

    Listen to the radio story on SoundCloud here. Analesa Paluga with her husband and young son. Paluga says they’ve had two unintended pregnancies, since they didn’t know about contraceptives until they heard about Likhaan. Photo: Sonia Narang Along a busy street in the heart of Manila’s largest slum is a hard-to-find doorway....

  • Family Planning In Senegal: Which Imam Do You Listen To?

    In the village of Mereto, Ngour Sen, 56, reclined on a green foam mattress next to a pile of massive rice bags in the seclusion of his storeroom. His 11 children and two wives loitered just outside in the yard, chatting while the women shelled peas. In the background, RSI, Senegalese state radio, droned. "We never switch it off," he said. From...

  • In Ethiopia, Family Planning Increasingly an Article Of Faith

    Religious figures have been preaching the gospel of family planning here in Africa's second most populous nation. The result: a whittling of the fertility rate, and a leap in contraceptive use. Mebrate Tenangne, almost nine months pregnant, stands in the doorway of her home in the village of Mosebo in northern Ethiopia. She used contraception for almost seven...

  • Religious Leaders in Senegal Stymie Birth Control

    A woman sweeps a treatment room at the health post in the village of Mereto in Koumpentoum district, eastern Senegal. Imam Cherif Ibrahim, 49, who has four wives and 11 children and hopes for more, has his family compound in the village of Koussanar in eastern Senegal. “Islam accepts organizing births, but it doesn't accept limiting births,”...

  • Why Senegal Wants Families to Put More Space Between Their Children

    Just one month after giving birth to her first child, nineteen-year-old Aissatou Tine became pregnant again. Now she and her young son are dealing with the consequences. Aissatou Tine has been pregnant for 18 out of the last 19 months. She lives with her husband and their 10-month-old son in a remote village in the West African nation of Senegal. Now 19,...

  • Family Planning Kits from Ethiopia, Zambia, South Africa

    I have been fortunate to visit health posts and family planning clinics in a handful of countries. One of the things I always ask to see while visiting are family planning kits used for educational purposes for clients. Some of the kits have been fancy, others have been fairly rudimentary, but they all serve the same purpose: educating women about...

  • In Republic of Congo, a Revolution in Maternal Health

    At first glance, Central University Hospital in Brazzaville looks like so many other hospitals in so many other African capitals – home to dimly lit waiting rooms and dirty floors. But inside the freshly painted mint-green walls of the hospital's maternity ward, a revolution is happening. In 10 years, the country has reduced the number of women dying in child...