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Family Planning Services during COVID-19
Family Planning Services during COVID-19

The village lal Muhammad Khaskheli is one of the target village in Marvi Sehat Saan Khushhali project in UC Sakro of District Thatta. The village has around 126 households and an estimated population of 1100 and there is no functional school in the village.

Bakhtawar w/o Mithan was selected as Marvi Worker for community based FP intervention in the village. She is 38 –years of age having 4 children. She is middle pass (Class 8). Her husband was a laborer, earning about 10000 rupees per month.

Bakhtawar has been providing FP services in her village for the last 2 years. She had been conducting health awareness session on FP methods within the community especially for women group. In the beginning of the year 2020, COVID-19 pandemic appeared and it rapidly spread in almost all the countries of the world. As COVID-19 cases started appearing in Pakistan and there was a fear that field based activities may not be continued due to lockdown situation and SOPs of infection prevention and control. But HANDS management developed an advisory for the field staff so that the outreach activities could be continued following the SOPs of COVID-19. HANDS Management provided an orientation on COVID-19 to their district based team and then they provided sessions further to community based staff.

The community in village Lal Muhammad Khashkheli was very apprehensive about the COVID-19 situation as they did not have any information about preventive measures that could be taken for infection prevention and control. Bakhtawar discussed the concerns of community with her supervisor LHV. She provided an awareness session in the community on the precautions of COVID-19 which include the information regarding the mode of spread of virus and preventive measures with an emphasis on hand hygiene, respiratory etiquettes and social distancing measures.

Due to COVID-19 lockdown and unavailability of health care providers and suspension of services at public health facilities, the community was very fearful. Bakhtawar with the support of HANDS team continued to provide services with in her community regarding COVID-19 and Family planning both.

Maintaining the SOPs, Bakhtawar continued the home visits and group counselling sessions and follow-ups of the clients. The team ensured the ample supply of contraceptives and continuity of services at Marvi Health Centre to avoid any drop outs. Due to the continued efforts of team and Bakhtawar during these challenging times, the FP clients increased.
“Many community women approached me for Family Planning services because of suspension of services during lockdown at public health facilities” says Bakhtwar.

During COVID-19 Pandemic and lockdown situation, Bakhtawar generated around 26 new Family Planning clients. The commitment and dedication of Bakhtawar and team supported in minimizing the fears and myths among community and able to continue the services in the village.