by NZ CATHOLIC staff
Silent no more is a project initiated by Human Life International Uganda (HLI-U) under Natural Family Planning department. This project aims to expose the dangerous side effects of artificial family planning methods that have gravely affected the lives of women, especially those from the project district (Tororo).
HLI-U makes regular sensitisation outreaches to villages in Tororo and other neighbouring districts, sharing the prolife message with them. We have encountered very many women who are suffering silently from the harmful side effects of artificial contraceptives. Sadly, most of these women were never counselled or told about the possibility of suffering from side effects of the methods given.
The most unfortunate scenario is that when they return to the health facilities for treatment, nothing goes for free. They have to pay high costs for any treatment required, ranging from consultation fees and medical treatment to buying drugs. This has left many women devastated and literally poor.
Many women have developed high blood pressure, severe and prolonged bleeding, abdominal pain, pelvic inflammatory disease, cancer, ulcers, genital infections and bad odours, and loss of or low libido. These have led to extra-marital affairs, family break-ups and high HIV/Aids infection rates among married couples.
Artificial family planning has been referred to as Family Killers, by men in Mukuju Village, one of the sub-counties in Tororo District which has been gravely affected by artificial contraceptives supponsored by non-government organisations whose employees work tirelessly to earn a salary from the big numbers of women using artifical contraceptives.
The men reported that their wives can no longer perform marital obligations as well as domestic work because the contraceptives make them too weak. They describe artificial family planning as family killers. They say that when they go back to those who administered them to remove them, they refuse or ask for money — yet they pleaded for them to allow them to insert them free.
On December 6, 2011, the Young and Prolife team from New Zealand and Annet from the United States, together with HLI-Uganda’s team, met men, women and couples from Mukuju, where more than 30 women complained of many complications they have experienced from the time they started using artificial family planning methods. Their loud cry and helpless situation was so sad that the Young and Prolife young people (John, Emily, Andrew and Anne) promised to send possible assistance for these women — which promise was honoured and the first grant of $NZ2000 was brought in November 2012 to meet the cost of removal and treatment for women affected by IUDs and Norplant.
HLI-U dedicated this grant to help women from Mukuju first and a number of women turned up for treatment. Dr Komagum a gynaecologist from St Anthony’s Hospital in Tororo has spearheaded this exercise and we have so far helped 53 women.
Many women suffering from the side effects of Depro Vera have turned up for assistance, as well as those who have had their tubes tied. HLI- U has continually offered conselling to these women, trained them in Natural Family Planning and offered medical treatment according to what a woman can afford.
Dr Welishe has come on board now, but he too is still relatively expensive, where the minimum treatment goes for UGX 18,000, or about $NZ9 per woman.
HLI-U on behalf of the community is grateful to Young and Prolife for the generous intervention towards saving families. Their support is seen as stepping stone as far as human dignity and family restoration is concerned.
The exercise started with registration from November 22, 2012, and treatment started on November 26 at St Anthony Hospital by Dr Komagum, the gynaecologist.
The women completed three copies of consent forms and were then referred to the doctors for removal and treatment.
At the same time the NFP lessons have been running at three time a week to help these couples master the natural way of child spacing using the Billings Ovulation Method, a method so effective and easy to use and which preserves the family unit.
A number of women have said there has been a great improvement in their health and family lives after the removal and treatment.
We are now carrying out sensitisation outreaches in different communities in Tororo and have found women facing the same or even worse problems.
We believe that God who made us start this project will continue to bless the Young and Prolife group.
While it is true that NFP and contraception can both be used to achieve the common end of avoiding pregnancy, the means chosen to achieve that end is considerably different in each case and has significant moral implications.
by NZ CATHOLIC staff