Mukarunyange Fortunate ,49,a resident of Ngazo Cell, Muhanga district, was brought up at a time when having many children was associated with privilege and wealth.
She was convinced that having many children does not only help expand the family lineage, but is also a sure way of fighting poverty, since a big work force would be availed.
And so she became determined to have a minimum of 8 children. And when marriage came, she started to put that in effect in a period of 6years she had 4 children.
This is when things started to go wrong. “I noticed that I was becoming gradually physically weak because of carrying regular pregnancies .” she says. As if that wasn’t bad enough, her husband a bread winner and now almost in his 70’s, started to become bedridden with sickness.
Hunger and malnutrition started to hit the home since the provider was now crippled with disease. She had no option but to take his place as a bread winner. So she got a job as a labourer in people’s farms, where she worked from dawn to dusk.
“I woke up very early in the morning, prepared food for the family, before I left to work and return late in the evening terribly exhausted .”she laments.
She points out that though she loved her children dearly and was determined to give them all the attention they deserved ,it was never possible because there wasn’t time.
This time now she worried about having more children, since she wasn’t able to sufficiently support the existing ones. This is when she remembered over hearing neighbours say something about how medical personnel provide drugs that “halt” conception”.
The next day she walked to a nearby health centre and after consultation with a medic. She was introduced to a dosage of Confiance Contraceptive pills.
“I worked hard to raise these four children and it was terribly straining, but at least I was confident I wouldn’t have any more impromptu children.” She reveals that she never misses out on taking the pills, when ever she forgets her husband reminds her.
Mukarunyange mentions that this has inspired her to become a family planning ambassador.
According to Bonaventure Rutagengwa ,an SFH Regular Programme Co-ordinator for the Southern Province, they are involved in sensitizing residents about various family planning methods through platforms like Mobile Cinema services and sound systems.
He adds that in may this year, over 50 community Health workers in Muhanga district alone were equipped with family planning related skills , as a way of ensuring efficient family planning services delivery to residents. .