Posted: February 15, 2017 at 6:44 am
UAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso It was after dark when awoman and her husband arrived. They crossed the dirt road and entered the cement buildingin a western neighborhood ofthis sprawling West African capital.
He had a demand: Remove the metal rodsyouve put in my wifes arm.Hed heard rumors that the strange technological device was going to give her cancer, and itneeded to go.
The nurse on duty at the health clinic, Bernadette Nassa, was insistent. She explained that the tiny rods were there for a reason: They provided the womansbody with a hormone to keep her from having children. She needed to give her body rest before becoming pregnant again.Eventually, the husband relented.
article continues after advertisement
But, Nassa said, theres not always ahappyending. Shes seen womenwhose husbands insist on a divorce if their wife usescontraception.
Such encountersunderscore the difficultyof providingcontraceptive services and womenshealth care inOuagadougou and in other developing countries where reproductivehealth education is limited and husbands make many decisions for their wives.
Did gender bias derail a potential birth control option for men?
But since May, the clinic hashad a new partner: Pathfinder International, a nonprofit geared towardincreasing global access to reproductive health services. And soon many more clinics could receive their help. Pathfinder last month received a $10 million grant from theBill and Melinda Gates Foundation, based in part on the work theyve done in Burkina Faso, to study how tohelp women get access to contraception.
For instance,Nassas clinic is one of 84 in Burkina Faso that have received the tools to insert an intrauterine device, or IUD, from Pathfinder, according toDr. Bruno Ki, the organizations technical director in the country. Before that, theclinic didnt even have the basic specula and tongs used in gynecological exams. Since May, Nassaestimates, theclinic has performed 30 or 40 IUD insertions a month, and the devices remaineffective for up to 12 years.
Each morning, a hundred women crowd into Nassas small waiting room and spill out into the courtyard; she and her staff, just under a dozen, cant take care of all of them. Her cement clinic only has four rooms for patients, so one doubles as a birthing suite and a family planning consultation room.
Demand for the clinics services has soared since the government started subsidizing health care for new mothers and young children in April. Now, health care is free for womenfor six weeks after they give birth.
That makes for a crucial juncture for Nassa to intervene. Back-to-back births carry higher risks for both mother and baby, and non-hormonal methods of contraception, including IUDs, are safe to use while the woman is still breastfeeding.
If she comes in with her child, we can use that opportunity to chat with her about contraceptive methods before she gets pregnant again, Nassa said through a translator. She tells the women about all kinds of contraceptive methods, including IUDs.
Malaria kills a half-million Africans a year. Gene-edited mosquitoes might stop it
Pathfinder is also funding improvements at other health clinics around the city. It is building a cement incinerator for medical waste at a health clinic in Bangpoor, a poor neighborhood by the railroad tracks to Abidjan, where the current incinerator was nothing more than a brick fire pit in which a stack of papers smoldered next to a jumble of aluminum and a can of insecticide that had not yet exploded.
Meanwhile, the organization is working at a national level to change the countrys laws on abortion.
Abortion law is very restrictive in Burkina Faso, Ki said. In 2012, we [had] more than 105,000 unsafe abortions in Burkina Faso.
Currently, abortions are only legal if ordered by a judge, and only in four cases: rape, incest, if the mothers health is at risk, or if there is a high probability the child will be born with an incurable congenital disorder.
As a result, many women try to induce an abortion, with horrifying results. Ki has heard stories about women who stuck bleach pills into their vagina or drank soup laced with ground glass.
If the new statute is adopted, women would be able to receive an abortion if their mental health or social well-being is at risk. The legislature was supposed to vote on the changes in October, but never did, Ki said, and hes not sure when they will pick it up in the future.
If those at Pathfinder want their work to have a lasting impact, they know that it will have to involve changing the attitudes of husbands and mothers-in-law, who often exercise a lot of control over a womans choices.
A few years ago, Pathfinder completed a project where it educated mothers-in-law about the importance of contraception, convincing them to accompany their daughters-in-law to the health clinic. Ki said the project was successful: Pathfinder worked with local nongovernmental organizations to talk with hundreds of mothers-in-law, some of whom later accompanied their daughters-in-law to receive contraception.
And Nassa acknowledged that one of the reasons so many husbands abhor contraception is that their ideas are based on rumors; they rarely learn how implants, IUDs, or injections actually work.
And that can lead to confrontations like the one Nassa experienced with the angry husband last month.
Here in Africa, especially in Burkina Faso, a woman cannot take a decision by herself, she said through a translator. It is the men that decide.
Kate Sheridan contributed reporting.
Ike Swetlitz can be reached at email@example.com Follow Ike on Twitter @ikeswetlitz
- Doctors Say Some May Be Suffering From 'Male Menopause' - CBS Pittsburgh / KDKA - March 22nd, 2017
- 5 Myths About Egg Freezing - Health.com - March 22nd, 2017
- Thyroid cancer: treatment and prognosis - Medical Xpress - March 22nd, 2017
- The Incredible Plan To Restore A Woman's Fertility And Defy The Limits Of Nature - Gizmodo Australia - March 18th, 2017
- For LGBT Undocumented Immigrants, Detention Means More Fear and Humiliation - Broadly - March 18th, 2017
- The Crazy Plan to Restore a Woman's Fertilityand Defy the Limits of Nature - Gizmodo - March 16th, 2017
- In the face of Trump's healthcare reform, RVA's Health Brigade steps up to cover the region's most vulnerable ... - GayRVA - March 16th, 2017
- What You Need To Know About Gwyneth Paltrow's New Supplements - Women's Health - March 10th, 2017
- Does Hormone Replacement Therapy Curb Atherosclerosis? New Imaging Study Opens Old Questions - TCTMD - March 10th, 2017
- Hormone secreted by bones influences the appetite - ResearchGate - ResearchGate (blog) - March 9th, 2017
- First clinic specifically serving transgender needs opens in Austin - MyStatesman.com - March 9th, 2017
- Dubai clinic offering free fertility tests for women throughout March ... - Emirates 24|7 - March 8th, 2017
- Mediterranean diet linked to lower risk of breast cancer type, study says - WGNO - March 8th, 2017
- Doctor Allie International Hormone Success Doctor Joins the ... - Satellite PR News (press release) - March 6th, 2017
- Hormone Therapy Clinic | Human Growth Hormone ... - March 6th, 2017
- Planned Parenthood New York Now Offers Transgender Hormone Replacement Therapy - The Mary Sue - March 6th, 2017
- Isoflavones in food associated with reduced mortality for women with some breast cancers - Tufts Now - March 6th, 2017
- Walking has many Health Benefit - Plainview Daily Herald - March 3rd, 2017
- Boutique Egg Freezing Clinics Are the Latest Trend for Those Looking to Delay Parenthood - Babble (blog) - March 2nd, 2017
- Municipal Hospital System Opens NYC's First Public Clinic Offering Gender-Reassignment Surgery - NY1 - March 2nd, 2017
- Obese couples may take longer to conceive - Fox News - March 1st, 2017
- Even More Reason to Kick That Sedentary Lifestyle - LifeZette - March 1st, 2017
- What Happens When Your Immune System Gets Stressed Out? - Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic (blog) - March 1st, 2017
- The truth about why some men get sleepy after sex | Fox News - Fox News - February 25th, 2017
- Wellness experts use hormone balancing to fight obesity - WNDU-TV - February 25th, 2017
- These transgender patients now have a place to change their lives all at once - San Angelo Standard Times - February 25th, 2017
- Balancing hormones and weight loss - UPMatters.com - February 23rd, 2017
- Have You Heard of These 5 Heart Attack Risk Factors? - Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic (blog) - February 23rd, 2017
- Feeling stressed? Try these proven methods for chilling out - Los Angeles Times - February 23rd, 2017
- Mother & Son Swap Sexes At The Same Time! - Radar Online - February 23rd, 2017
- Healthy eating, the Hyman way - Durham Herald Sun - February 21st, 2017
- These transgender patients now have a place to change their lives all at once - Miami Herald - February 20th, 2017
- Research shows balancing hormones can aid weight loss - WLS-TV - February 18th, 2017
- 'Speed' and other recreational stimulants tied to heart damage - Fox News - February 16th, 2017
- Is hormone melatonin the link between sleep and breast cancer? - Knowridge Science Report - February 15th, 2017
- Most cases of thyroid cancer are curable - Post-Bulletin - February 13th, 2017
- How This Police Officer Is Helping Trans Patients Get Better Care - Refinery29 - February 13th, 2017
- Women's wellness: Understanding hypothyroidism and pregnancy - The Killeen Daily Herald - February 12th, 2017
- Amphetamine use may 'speed up' heart aging - Medical News Today - February 11th, 2017
- Nationwide Planned Parenthood protests energize patients, opponents - SFGate - February 11th, 2017
- In Transition: Physical transitions can include hormone treatment, surgery - The Baylor Lariat - February 10th, 2017
- Four NIH-backed projects aim to advance the artificial pancreas - MobiHealthNews - February 10th, 2017
- Hospital in Somerset becomes first in NJ to open LGBTQ health center - New Jersey 101.5 FM Radio - February 8th, 2017
- BRUCKNER: UNL a national model for trans, LGBT care - Daily Nebraskan - February 8th, 2017
- Thyroid Hormone Therapy for Subclinical Hypothyroidism in Pregnancy - Medical News Bulletin - February 7th, 2017
- Transgender youth in Alberta need more than 1 part-time clinic, says new campaign - CBC.ca - February 7th, 2017
- Risk of Pregnancy Loss in Subclinical Hypothyroidism - Endocrinology Advisor - February 7th, 2017
- Public invited to women's clinic opening in New Albany - Evening News and Tribune - February 7th, 2017
- Worrying about Anti Mullerian Hormones? | Baby Hopeful - December 19th, 2016
- Prolactin - Wikipedia - December 11th, 2016
- West Coast Womens Clinic - Vancouver Womens Health Clinic - November 28th, 2016
- Medical Weight Loss | Endocrinology & Hormone Replacement - November 25th, 2016
- Hormone Replacement Therapy | Born Clinic - November 22nd, 2016
- Clinical Guidelines and Recommendations | Agency for ... - November 15th, 2016
- UT Southwestern, Dallas, Texas - UTSW Medicine (Patient ... - October 15th, 2016
- Hormone Replacement Clinic in NJ | Healthy Aging Medical ... - October 11th, 2016
- Melatonin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - September 24th, 2016
- Ageing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - September 21st, 2016
- Home : Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine - September 18th, 2016
- NATESTO (testosterone) Nasal Gel CIII | Prescriber Site - August 24th, 2016
- Talk to Nurse Rita - Health, Nursing & Clinic Matters - July 24th, 2016
- Human chorionic gonadotropin - Wikipedia, the free ... - July 20th, 2016
- melatonin hormone - University of Maryland Medical Center - July 7th, 2016
- Dr Colin Holloway | Managing hormone imbalances - July 2nd, 2016
- Does hormone replacement medication ... - Lindora Clinic - June 30th, 2016
- FEMME CLINIQUE - Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy Clinic ... - June 30th, 2016
- San Antonio Natural Hormone Therapy Clinic | Bio-Identical ... - June 16th, 2016
- The Endocrine Clinic | Singapore Hormone Specialists - June 5th, 2016
- Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy for Men and Women ... - April 29th, 2016
- Denver Hormone Therapy | Denver Hormone Health - April 8th, 2016
- HD Medspa & Clinic | Lakeview Neighborhood, Chicago, for ... - October 18th, 2015
- Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy - Amen Clinics - October 12th, 2015
- Human growth hormone (HGH): Does it slow aging? - Mayo Clinic - October 9th, 2015
- What are Hormones? - Hormone Replacement Therapy Denver - October 4th, 2015
- Medical Weight Loss Clinic of Utah - Hormone Replacement ... - September 29th, 2015
- Home - Seattle Hormone Replacement Clinic for Men - September 25th, 2015
- Long Island Hormone Therapy Clinic NY, Anti-Aging Clinics ... - September 25th, 2015
- HGH Therapy | HGH Clinics | Human Growth Hormone Therapy - August 24th, 2015
- Bio-Identical Hormones & Women's Services at Dr. Wright's ... - August 21st, 2015
- Male Hormone Replacement - Testosterone - The Turek Clinic - August 1st, 2015