Plan International in Cameroon is working with partners to improve the well-being of children by educating parents on family planning and sexual and reproductive health.
Informed research conducted at Minawao Integrated Health Center indicates that the birth rate in the Minawao refugee settlement, Far-North Cameroon, is very high, with an average of 248 births per month. Many couples are having children at close intervals, threatening their survival chances and increasing the challenges they face.
To ensure a healthy start in life for children and reduce neonatal, infant, and maternal mortality, Plan, in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has introduced educational talks to teach parents the importance of family planning and its advantage for the family and for children.
Plan is supporting the training of medical personnel and community health workers to make sure the initiative is a success.
Moreover, Plan International also ensures mothers are well cared for and undertake a series of medical tests. Later on, they are provided with free family planning methods and contraceptives.
Salome Andreas, 26, is a Nigerian refugee and mother of three. She enjoys the change in her family’s life style.
“My husband and I realized the risk of having many children and at short intervals,” she said. “After receiving family planning education from the community health workers, we decided to take a birth break and I was administered a family planning method. Today we live happily and focus our resources on our three children to ensure their proper growth.”
Plan is committed to ensuring all refugee children of Minawao settlement access their right to a healthy start in life. Activities include mobile clinic operations, house-to-house sensitization on family planning, counselling of women by medical personnel, and campaigning for the promotion of modern contraceptive methods, to reduce neonatal, infant, and maternal mortality.
Lasting partnership for greater impact
Plan started working with UNFPA in 2014 to improve access to reproductive health services and family planning in 32 health areas of six health districts in the Far-North region of Cameroon. The project targets women/couples as well as girl/boys of childbearing ages. In August 2015, the project extended to the Minawao refugee settlement to ensure Nigerian refugee children have the opportunity to grow up with healthy parents within safer families.
Following the satisfactory results of the project and the increasing need for follow up and extension of family planning and reproductive health services, Plan and UNFPA have extended the project to December 2016. The project coverage has also doubled from six to 12 health districts.