LACK OF FAMILY PLANNING KNOWLEDGE MADE MY LIFE MISERABLE, MOTHER SAYS

The 38 year old mother of four who turned into a grandmother two years ago, confesses that family planning information has changed her life.  Jerusa Peters believes she is one of the biggest benefactors of Huduma Poa Heath Network services in Nyamira County.

She has been married for 21 years and is a mother of four children, three boys and a girl. Like many other women, she says she was ignorant on how to space child bearing a fact that she points out to have made her formative days miserable.

Jerusa and her spouse Joram Nyalika, 50 years old, got married at an early age while Jerusa was still in her teens. The two lived in Meru for a short

Mayaka (left) one of the KMET Huduma Poa community health workers introduces Jerusa (right) to  KMET field officers

Mayaka (left) one of the KMET Huduma Poa community health workers introduces Jerusa (right) to KMET field officers

while before they decided to come back to Joram’s ancestral home in Bobangi Village in Nyamira since they did not have any meaningful source of income in Meru.

During this period the two were expecting their first born and life in the village was challenging as they had neither a house nor a steady source of income and had to put up in relative’s houses.

Jerusa says the situation got even worse when she gave birth to twin baby boys, now 24. “I was overwhelmed, I realized I had two young children, I could barely afford food and was yet to move out to start building my home,” she sombrely recalls.

Jerusa and her husband decided to erect and move out in a makeshift structure in the husband’s piece of land as they purposed to build a home later. The husband had to take odd jobs in the village to make ends meet.

Just a year later the couple learnt that they were expecting another child which they confess gave them mixed reactions: one they could barely sustain their basic needs and two they were happy to have a baby girl join the family.

Juggling between being a mother, casual labourer and small scale farmer Jerusa’s health deteriorated so much and says she even thought she was HIV positive and just when she was recovering, the inevitable happened, she got another baby, a boy.

One concerned relative advised her to visit any hospital for a family planning method and six months after delivery she was put on injectable contraceptive; which she confesses to have had adverse effects on her weight and bleeding.

“For a year I went for injections which were costing me 150 KES after every 3 months , I grew bigger and gained weight but I didn’t have any other alternative,” she explains.

Jerusa, leads a team of Community Health Workers to her home after a community mobilization near her village

Jerusa, leads a team of Community Health Workers to her home after a community mobilization near her village

This was however to change when she met a neighbor who works as a Huduma Poa Community Health Worker in Nyamira. They had a chat and invited the CHW to talk to her husband too.

After couple counselling the two settled for a long term method and were referred for IUCD insertion and for cervical cancer screening at no fee.

Speaking to KMET field officers last month, Jerusa was delighted saying that she since lives with peace of mind knowing she has control of when to give birth and can focus on building a better life for herself and family.

Her parting shot went to her daughter 23 who is a mother to a two year old baby boy: “if you want to live a better life than your father and I follow these Huduma Poa people and get a family planning method.”

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