Outreach team recognized by Government of Bihar

Congratulations to our Sitamarhi Clinical Outreach Team, who have been recognized by the Government of Bihar for their outstanding work in health and family welfare.

As part of Bihar’s Republic Day celebrations, the team was presented with an award for their contribution to the delivery of high quality family planning services.

Alongside the team award, Mr. Prince, Program Coordinator and Ms Juhi, Counsellor were also recognized for their contribution in this area.

The team serves two districts- Sitamarhi and Seohar in the state of Bihar. In 2017, they provided services to a total of 5,494 clients (4,260 female sterilizations, 57 male sterilization and 1,177 (IUCD) in the two districts.

FRHS India is honored to have received such recognition and would like to thank donors, partners and well-wishers for their continued support and encouragement.

Last mile outreach by our team

One of the things that FRHS India is known for is our dedication to getting services through to the last mile. So when communities in the state of Bihar were cut off by record-breaking floodwaters, our teams knew what they had to do.

In 2016, the monsoon floods of India’s Ganges river broke all the previous records, in places reaching more than 50m (166ft). Bihar state was particularly badly affected, with more than 150 deaths and nearly half a million people evacuated.

A small outreach team comprising Nurse Rani Kumari, Counsellor Chandan Bharti and Programme Coordinator Chandra Bhushan organised for a narrow wooden raft to carry them across the flooded areas towards the Araria district, where local women had been unable to access contraception services for more than a month.

That wasn’t the end of their journey. Once they had crossed the flooded area, the team walked for more than an hour to reach the health centre at Mirzapur. In places, they were forced to wade through knee-deep slush, physically carrying all the required equipment for the day’s procedures. In total, the team travelled a distance of 25km over three hours – an extraordinary effort.

As soon as the local women learnt of the team’s arrival, they quickly lined up for services. The team provided 14 women with IUDs that day, giving them long-acting protection against unplanned pregnancy, come rain or shine.

Driving positive change towards male involvement– a story of courage and perseverance by our team

Pinky joined the partnership in 2010, aged just 22, when she was assigned the role of counselling women on their contraceptive options in the remote Rajasthan townships of Sanganer and Bassi. At first, the work was tough – many of the women Pinky visited had received little education and were unused to making decisions, deferring instead to their husbands and community elders – but she persisted.

It took time to gain the women’s trust, but gradually and with some determination, Pinky encouraged them to share their concerns about family planning more openly. She realised that most of the women she met understood the value of being able to manage the size of their family, but were constrained by factors like the distance to their nearest health clinic, or family commitments taking priority.

By adopting the client-centred approach that FRHS India, formerly Marie Stopes India is known for, Pinky was able to not only understand the challenges her clients faced in accessing contraception but offer them solutions. As a result, uptake of contraception in the townships began to rise.

In 2013, FRHS India began a focused drive to increase the number of men coming forward for vasectomy. Having already won the confidence of the women in the community, Pinky was well-placed to promote the procedure among their husbands and male family members. However, her initial efforts were met with resistance, sometimes even with gossip and mockery.

Once again Pinky persisted, continuing to face the communities she visited with courage, addressing the myths surrounding the procedure, and explaining the method to the men with as much ease as she had to the women.

Gradually, the men of Sanganer and Bassi realised that what she was telling them not only made sense, but was to their benefit. Increasing numbers started coming forward for vasectomy. Pinky’s biggest achievement came in November 2014, when she encouraged 32 men to undergo a vasectomy on a single day.

Pinky has been so successful in her work that she now plays an important role in generating demand for vasectomy in almost every district in Rajasthan, India’s largest state. In her new role as Block Coordinator, she heads a team of 14 peer motivators, who she trains to motivate men across the state to take up vasectomy. In addition to training others, she continues to meet clients of her own and looks forward to breaking her own record soon!