…Marie Stopes boss debunks rumour mongers
October 11, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai
The Country Director of Marie Stopes Sierra Leone, Ufuoma Festus Omo-Obi, has told Concord Times that allegation that contraceptives cause cancer was false and misleading.
He made this statement yesterday in an exclusive interview with Concord Times, although he admitted that some drug might cause reaction in patients.
He said when women take contraceptives their body respond differently because of their anatomy and physiology, adding that everybody has his/her own reaction to drugs. He said that is why when family planning is provided a lot of counseling is done to the beneficiary.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) has set up a mechanism that is called the WHO eligibility will. It is a global standard and criteria that is established to determine what contraceptives method is suitable for every woman. So every woman does not have the same with the other,” he explained.
The Marie Stopes Country Director said every woman’s body was unique and that that is why before Marie Stopes administers family planning pills to women, they are put through rigorous counseling and education on the pros and cons of the service.
“For example, in some cases contraceptives will make some women not to see their monthly period. While some women would say they want to be seeing it so that they would want to know that they are still normal even though they are on contraceptives,” he said.
When quizzed to respond to allegation that women who are on contraceptives at times become barren, Mr. Omo-Obi categorically denied it by saying that it was yet to be scientifically proven. He noted that the United Nations, specifically WHO, has the convening mandate and accountability to make sure that every person on earth lives a healthy and a fulfilled life, adding that if WHO could endorse family planning commodities to be used globally, and UNFPA has the mandate for reproductive health to procure global commodities for family planning, they would not endorse contraceptives if they caused cancer.
“I refer to those allegations as myth and misconceptions and they can only be clarified when people have the correct information. They need the right education before they can access the service,” he said.
He disclosed that once a woman starts menstruation, she is fit to begin taking contraceptives, adding that if a woman is ovulating and having sex she has a high rate of becoming pregnant.
Asked if men could take contraceptives, he answered in the affirmative, noting that it could be by use of male condom.
“Condoms can be used for two purposes, which include prevention from sexually transmitted infections and pregnancies. This is called dual protection method,” he said, adding that contraceptives are devices that men and women take to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
The Marie Stopes Country Director disclosed that a lot of research has been conducted by different agencies on the benefits of contraceptives to people who take them. These benefits, he noted, are enabling girls to at least complete secondary school, to live a fulfilled life than those that are not on contraceptives, to enable new born to live above the first 1000 days of life, among others.
He disclosed that Marie Stopes has been working with the Government of Sierra Leone to make sure women and girls get access to reproductive health services, specifically family planning and post-abortion case services. He added that Marie Stopes has been a reliable partner to the Government of Sierra Leone in its 30 years of serving the people of this country.