“it’s not necessary to use Sayana Press” Joel Serucaca

Whereas in some other African countries, they started to pilot a contraceptive method, a self injection known as Sayana Press, that is administered every three months under the skin, the Ministry of Health in Rwanda says that it is not necessary to use it while they currently use the intramuscular DMPA. This came by the time the Catholic Church in Rwanda doesn’t go with all contraceptive methods that are of more medicine than being natural.

Sayana Press was officially approved by the United Kingdom’s lead stringent regulatory authority in 2015, and has been recommended by the World Health Organisation in contexts where women have information, training, and support. There is still an ongoing research to determine the feasibility and acceptability of self-injection suggest that most women are able to self-inject competently three months after one-on-one training.

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Kanseera Health Center in Mubende District in Uganda

In Uganda, Mubende district, in Kanseera Health Centre, Miss Sarah Continho, a nurse working for PATH, the organisation coordinating the using of Sayana Press in Uganda; she says that from 2016 when they started using this method, they didn’t get any report about one who has gotten any side effect from this method.

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Miss Sarah Continho, a nurse working for PATH

In the interview with Family Magazine, Joel Serucaca, the official in charge of family planning services in the Ministry of Health in Rwanda; he said that the Rwandan government has realised that there is no need of using Sayana Press method because it is not meaningfully different from the other injection method that were currently being used. “We have realised that there is no need of trying that method here in Rwanda because it is not different from the ‘Depot Medroxyprogesterone acetate intramuscular’ we were currently using, they both last three months and in either method, one gets the same effects” said Joel Serucaca.

The Catholic Church has chosen the natural method

Simbi Health Centre, around 150 kilometres far away from the capital Kigali City, it is in the morning around 8:00 and the sun is starting to rise; women who came early are there seating on the bench waiting; I approach and have a chat with them.

I came here for family planning services” said Mukamana Gorette. Another woman beside her laughed and says: “I thought you were going to ask her which method she uses because we usually come here to learn how we can guess our fertility period using the mucus test and checking out on our cervix”.

Ntirurambirwa Damien, the Social Affair Officer of Simbi Sector; he says that from 500 women that have undergone the family planning system, 53.4% of them have used natural methods. “This is because family planning methods that are not natural are costly and hard to afford for some, yet the Catholic Church’s beliefs don’t go with all the contraceptive methods that use medicines or condoms, they only give natural methods services for free and this implies to a large scale of women who prefer to undergo natural methods”.

Uwimana Julienne, the nurse in charge of family planning system in Simbi Health Centre, the health centre owned by the Catholic Church; she said that the family planning method of checking the cervix or the mucus test, is friendly with the catholic beliefs; she also added that this method requires a big commitment from both wife and husband, live in peaceful cohabitation, free from domestic violence. “The Catholic Church has stopped giving contraceptive pills and medicine from their health institutions, they teach couples to use natural methods, to live peacefully and to support each other in this process

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Uwimana Julienne, a nurse from Simbi Health Centre

August 2016, the Catholic Church has officially announced that, the contraceptive services that use medicines, will no longer be provided by the health institutions owned by it.

Bishop Philip Rukamba, the spokesman of the Catholic Church; he says that it has even been 3 years without them providing such services, he also add that using this contraceptive methods one can get a lot of side effects, “we’ve realised that these contraceptives methods are something that people should be careful about mostly because they have a lot of side effects, we think that the couples should know themselves and respect each other, not to list that this has always been our culture as a church; people should use natural methods for family planning” says him.

Mudahogora Chantal agrees with this, where she says that she used use a contraceptive method called the vaginal implant ring’ and she switched the methods from the vaginal implant ring to the contraceptive pills, this when she realised that was somewhat like an abortion; she got significant side effects from these contraceptive pills where she stopped them and she then chose to use the natural method.

This natural method makes me feel alright, I no longer get sick suddenly, in fact life is better than it used to be, because I used to get a severe headache and nausea.” said by Umubyeyi Francine, one of the women that underwent the natural method.

There is confusion about the mucus and the urinary infection liquids

Claudine Nyirakamana, one of the women who did natural method; she says: “I checked the mucus and the cervix, and my husband and I stopped having sex for a while, but the mucus kept on increasing, and when we had sex later, I got the pregnancy, and when I went to the hospital, the diagnosis showed that I have gotten STDs.

Uwimana Julienne, the nurse who’s following up on Claudine’s health; she says that the problem was that Claudine had infections that are sexually transmitted, and one the effects of this infection is that one get a lot of mucus flowing, therefore it’s hard to differentiate it from the usual mucus without sickness.

Some women prefer using medicine than using the natural methods

Met at Muhima Hospital, in Family Planning Services, with a smile, Devota Mukeshimana says: “No way, I can’t use natural methods, I once tried it, and it was more complicated than just medicine injection, and the thing is that the natural method requires stop having sex when one is in the fertility period, while other contraceptive method, one doesn’t have to be worried, we live a normal life.”

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Muhima Hosptal

The ministry of health has something to say about it

Joel Serucaca, the Official in Charge of Family Planning Services in the Ministry of Health; he says that family planning using contraceptive medicine doesn’t bring any harm on the woman’s life when she got diagnosed properly. He also add that the Rwandan government has a challenge that there few workers in the field of family planning, and this lead to the lack of enough time to get to know one who is receiving the services and all information about her.

He said:” There is a challenge of few workers on health centres, and they receive a lot of women who come for family planning services, and this implies that they just do a simple diagnosis because they don’t get enough time to know their clients and all information related. Otherwise contraceptive medicine don’t cause any harm to those who use them.

He insists that there is no need of use Sayana Press, while it has same side effects like the muscular injection currently used in Rwanda. He mentions that people have to provide all clear information about their health situation to the Health Centres Services Provider.

Serucaca says that, all over the country, over these last 12 months, the contraceptive medicine method has been more preferred than the natural method, because 48% used medicine while only 6% used natural method.

Peace Hillary

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