Love is Safety, Respect & Joy: Family Planning at CCBRT

|   Maternal Health

On Valentine’s Day, CCBRT Emphasises Safety, Respect & Joy

This year the CCBRT Family Planning unit celebrated Valentine’s Day by sharing sweets and educational messages on love. Over 1,000 leaflets were distributed to patients, visitors, and staff at the CCBRT Disability Hospital with information harping on safety, joy, and respect as hallmarks of love.

These were designed for a broad audience, but with a particular focus on youth engagement, as sexual violence is prevalent in Tanzania. The leaflets included statistics on assault, consent, and condoms, such as: “10% of Tanzanian women aged 15-49 reported that their first experience of sexual intercourse was forced. Sexual contact without mutual consent =  Violence! No is No! Always!”.

The messages encouraged readers to be with a partner who makes them feel safe, be aware of infection and unwanted pregnancy risk, seek regular sexual health check ups, and remember that “if it doesn’t feel safe, don’t do it”. They also emphasized joy as a key component of love. This starts with self love and “feeling strong, confident, and protective of your own body”, as well as “being with someone who makes you feel happy, cared for, and secure”. The third and final theme was love as respect. Respect for “your own body and your partner’s body, for the decisions you make, for people of all ages and genders, and for the youth’s right to a bright future”.

Throughout the day patients and visitors were encouraged to take free condoms and learn more about sexual health and family planning options at Tim’s Corner, CCBRT’s onsite family planning unit.

Throughout the year, CCBRT prioritises family planning in its Maternal & Newborn Healthcare work and integrates it with disability services. With the combination of rapid population growth, high adolescent fertility rate, and minimal use of contraception, the need for family planning services in Tanzania is dire. Relatedly, the Tanzanian maternal and neonatal mortality rates are almost double the global averages. To address the impact of population growth, low contraceptive use, and maternal and newborn mortality, CCBRT offers extensive family planning services.

Tim’s Corner, offers a full range of short and long term modern contraceptive methods, free information, and educational materials on reproductive health, family planning, and disability. In 2016, nearly 600 people received comprehensive family planning services at Tim’s Corner. Furthermore, 83% of women being treated for obstetric fistula at the CCBRT Disability Hospital were educated in sexual & reproductive health and nutrition during their group rehabilitation sessions. CCBRT also shares Sexual & Reproductive Health and fistula prevention educational materials through outreach in communities in Dar es Salaam.

Family planning will be integrated throughout CCBRT Maternity & Newborn Hospital services -- from antenatal to postpartum care -- when it opens in 2018.

Family planning information shared with patients, visitors, and staff on Valentine's Day