Bernice Addom

Bernice Addom - 2016 Nominee
Position: Nurse Midwife
Organization: Korle Bu Teaching Hospital
Bernice is an experienced family planning advocate. Women of all ages from all walks of life benefit from her services at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. Her outreach services take her beyond the hospital into the community. – Nominator
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I have been at the forefront of providing education to all clients who visit the Gynaecology department of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital both in the outpatients department and on the wards for six years. I provide education and counseling on all the methods of family planning.

As a known advocate for family planning, both men and women seek my counsel on family planning issues. I also serve as a confidant for most young women. I ensure all those who need family planning services are linked up with colleagues to provide the needed service.

During community outreach services, I play the lead role and provide education on family planning and answer all the questions posed by participants. I also serve as a link between community members and the family planning unit in the hospital.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

As a young woman, I started enjoying the benefits of family planning and realized that many women were missing out.
The few people I interacted with confirm that many people were ignorant about the benefits of family planning and also lacked the courage to take the first step of visiting a family planning provider.
With a few successes at getting women to start using a method of their choice, I decided to champion the cause of family planning with a passion for all to enjoy the benefits.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your family planning efforts, and what have you done to overcome it?

Though the benefits of family planning have been emphasised and the evidence is there for all to see, my biggest challenge have been crossing the religious barrier. People hold their religious beliefs very dear and think family planning is trying to take the place of God and also working against Him.

I have been able to overcome this challenge by respecting the religious beliefs of clients. I also dialogue until we reach a compromise most often with clients making an informed choice.

What is your (country/region/city)’s biggest challenge in family planning, and how can it be addressed?

The biggest challenge for Ghana is unmet need for contraception where women do not want to become pregnant yet are not actively using modern contraception to prevent pregnancy. This has contributed to unsafe abortions.

Unmet need for contraception can be addressed by increasing access to modern family planning methods, public education to correct myths and misconceptions about family planning and also change the attitude of patrons who have become resistant to the family planning message.

What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?

I will embark on family planning interventions in communities within Accra to help improve the health of women and children.

I will conduct a study to measure participants level of satisfaction with the family planning method(s) they have ever used. The result of the study will inform an educational package to be used in the communities. A focal person in each locality will be identified and trained to link with a family planning provider for services to be provided at their convenience.

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