ARUA CITY. Women in Arua city and the greater Arua district have been encouraged to make it a habit to go for sexual reproductive related health services.
Speaking to the leaders of women led organizations during a stakeholders meeting, Ms Sally Andezu, a senior nursing officer in the district health office, said sexual reproductive health issues mostly affect women though it cuts across all sexes.
“When it comes to sexual reproductive health issues such as infertility, producing single sex children, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), etc. it is always the women who carry most of the blame”, she said.
According to her, there are several sexual reproductive health services that women need such as family planning, antenatal care, postnatal care, post abortion care services which need thorough cleaning to avoid future permanent infertility even though a woman or girl attempts abortion.
She said there is a great challenge of attempted abortions that need to be dealt with because there are rampant occurrences of situations where girls are brought to the hospital with plants and stems inserted through their cervix in an attempt to induce abortion adding that when they fail, some are rushed to the hospitals and when examined and discovered that their reproductive systems (uterus) have been damaged, this can result into permanent infertility.
Andezu added that due to fear of attempting an abortion, some girls die silently without coming to health facilities when they develop complications.
She said there are lots of issues in the communities that surround family planning and some women do not know about their rights to access family planning.
“Much as couple attendance of family planning services is encouraged, where one party is not ready to support the other especially the men, women should not stay silent over that. They need not compromise their health over some of the issues that can affect their lives”, she added.
She urged women to look at advantages over disadvantages, saying, women need not to wait for permission from their husbands to attain family planning because it is also their responsibility and right to have a manageable size of family other than producing a number that they cannot support.
A section of participants during the meeting said some nurses and people in the family planning units only talk about the advantages of the various family planning methods living out the disadvantages hence making the clients not to understand the methods well.
Ms Mercy Monica Ocotoko, a youth rights and disability activist said village health teams as health center ones sometimes do not understand their roles and how much they are empowered because it limits them from sharing with the community on what they can do for them though they are very key in any community development.
She said communities sometimes do not know that village health teams are their immediate health workers whom they should approach in case of any health problem. She added that the number of VHTs are low and in some cases where there are male VHTs, it’s very hard for women to go to such a person for issues that concern women and need confidentiality.
Ms Kalsum Abdu Fadimulah, the Arua city deputy mayor said there is a big problem of post maternal care especially at Arua regional referral hospital where there is limited space and rampant cases of double operation on mothers where they are operated for the babies and also second operations always meant to remove foreign materials that reportedly remain in the womb.
She added that women are being operated twice, something that never existed and is now becoming a system with cases of foreign bodies remaining in the womb becoming too common.
“Much as the medical personnel and nurses are doing a lot, there is a need for something to be done about the double operations”, She appealed.
She added that women and girls who have gone through such challenges need to be resettled through various activities and programs that can help them to be independent and be able to earn on their own.