This article was written exclusively for The European Sting by Mr. Sharif Mohammad Sadat, a third-year medical student currently studying at Bangladesh Medical College, Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Student Associations (IFMSA), friendly partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the IFMSA’s point of view on the subject, nor that of The European Sting.
The scope of family planning goes beyond contraception, including sex education, marriage counseling, infertility counseling, birth control, parenting education, sex education, home economics education and nutrition, provision of adoption services, etc. It covers not only birth spacing but also terminal birth control methods. It focuses on maternal health aspects to reduce maternal mortality, morbidity of women of childbearing age and nutritional status, preventable complications of pregnancy and abortion. In addition, health aspects of the fetus, infant, and child health are of concern. It focuses on reducing infant mortality and improving infant survival with proper nutrition, infant growth and development.
Family planning is crucial for all people of reproductive age to promote the health of all family members. Basic knowledge, understanding of family planning concepts, and proficiency in patient communication skills are essential for medical students. There is a very low level of awareness about family planning and contraception among people. Despite the high percentage of pregnant women receiving prenatal care, many people are still unwilling to use contraception.
Health workers can provide significant family planning support by following specific strategies that move us closer to our goal: a safe world for all.
- The concentration of health workers in urban areas causes shortages of health workers in rural areas, leaving the hardest-to-reach populations without access to care. Increasing the density of doctors, nurses and midwives in these areas can have a huge impact on the provision of services for all.
- Improving access to and use of contraception is particularly important for girls and young people. Unfortunately, few young women are offered long-acting reversible methods, such as implants and intrauterine devices, which are 20 times more effective than short-acting methods, such as: OCP. Challenges for youth who want to use long-acting methods include lack of access, provider stigma, community resistance, and myths and misconceptions.
- Implement “Task Sharing”, a concept that refers to the systematic delegation of tasks by expanding the levels of health care providers. It involves training mid- and low-level cadres of health workers, such as clinical officers, nursing assistants who can adequately provide health services. This can ensure the availability of family planning methods at the primary care level.
- Advocate for family planning as a key ingredient in achieving a demographic dividend. Family planning provides value for money in many ways. It helps couples achieve their desired family size, which means more resources are available to feed, educate, and support their children.
The entire process depends in part on the communication skills and attitudes of health care providers. Health workers, as well as medical students around the world, can play a vital role in counseling eligible couples (currently married couples in which the woman is of reproductive age) to take concepts seriously. family planning and act accordingly for a better and healthier future. Comprehensive sexuality education should begin in early adolescence and continue throughout a person’s life.
About the Author
Sharif Mohammad Sadat is a third-year medical student currently studying at Bangladesh Medical College, Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is an active member of the Bangladesh Medical Students Society, a national member organization of IFMSA. In addition to being passionate about the medical field, he is a visionary youth leader who wants to bring about positive change in society. He is also an advocate for youth engagement in global health initiatives and integrates social development with medical knowledge.