Catherine Baye

Catherine Baye - 2016 Nominee
Position: MD, MSPH candidate, Director of Country Coordinators
Organization: International Youth Alliance for Family Planning
Catherine has moved so many youth not only as a doctor, but as a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University and as a founding member and Executive member of IYAFP. – Jillian Gedeon, Co-Executive Director at International Youth Alliance for Family Planning
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

From my focus on family planning at the end of my medical training where I conducted my thesis research on FP among young girls in Yaounde, I worked as a medical doctor at a health center which mainly focused on mother and child care providing FP services. I was involved at a global level at the ICFP2013 as emerging youth leader and main youth speaker and at a national level as a consultant for the African Conference on Sexual Health and Rights which took place in Cameroon and was hosted by Women in Alternative Action (WAA), Cameroon. I went on to obtain a MSPH degree in PFRH, all the while being executive board member of the IYAFP. As my MSPH internship, I worked on youth involvement and participation at the ICFP 2016 and conducted my end of course thesis on contraceptive choice in Kenya

What sparked your passion for family planning?

In my last few years of medical training and my medical thesis research, I learned the importance of FP. It impacts the development of communities and nations and plays a critical role in the social, political and even economic development of every society. It connects every field of our existence. My zeal to make a positive impact, to service, leadership and to empower others, especially young people and help them be all they could possibly be fueled my passion and dedication for FP.

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

This biggest challenge I faced was the frustration of seeing the same thing over and over. Working as a young medical doctor in a health center and receiving young girls come into the health center to seek abortion services because they had unplanned and unwanted pregnancies which we could not grant giving that abortion is illegal in Cameroon, counseling them and watching them walk out of the door only to return a few weeks later with bleeding or infections caused by incomplete/failed abortions.

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

In Cameroon, FP for youth is still looked on as a taboo. Besides the stigma of being sexually active, there is misinformation about contraception, and the assumption that birth control is only appropriate for women who are married or already have a child. By having access to birth control services and the right information, girls will be granted the opportunity to choose the future they desire and this decision can have an immeasurable impact on the rest of their lives and the community.

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

I will advocate for and lead increasing advocacy by young people for commitments by governments and donors for sustainable youth and ASRHR. With my training in population and reproductive health especially family planning (FP) I will ensure that youth know what FP means and what contraceptives are. They will understand that it goes beyond a method and it is about taking control of their future. Young people will know where to find FP services, how to access them, how to use contraceptives.

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