Oyindamola Soremekun

Oyindamola Soremekun - 2016 Nominee
Position: Behavioural Change Communications Specialist/ Public health Practitioner
Organization: Society for Family Health
She oversees 40 Interpersonal communication agents to create demand for family planning and other reproductive health services; and also coordinates community outreaches to reach a minimum of 150,000 women and men of reproductive health annually. – Nominator
She leads the reproductive Health, Family Planning and Maternal and Child Health strategies in Oyo State, Nigeria. She coordinates and ensures successful implementation of the Family Planning Project by increasing demand for FP/Reproductive services. – Nominator
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

In the last 10 years of my career as a Reproductive health specialist, I have been privileged to work on several Family planning (FP) projects, the girl child education, increased awareness on antenatal and postnatal care services and safe motherhood. Currently, I work as a Behaviour Change Specialist, where I lead the demand creation activities on a USAID funded FP/MNCH intervention. In the last 5 years of this project, I used the Interpersonal communication strategy to increase awareness of FP; which has yielded over 35,000 Women of Reproductive Age as acceptors of Long Acting Reversible Methods. I have also influenced both men and women leaders and their constituencies to embrace FP through effective community dialogue and engagement of key opinion leaders using multi-strategic approach

What sparked your passion for family planning?

During my volunteer days in a community based organisation, I discovered that young women lacked access to correct and quality information about their sexual and reproductive health. As a young person, I was involved in a Youth Rescue Club and had access to youth friendly services; but the use of contraceptives for young people as a reproductive health right and choice was seldom discussed. These experiences were challenging and further reinforced my determination to tow this career pathway

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

The lack of supply of FP consumables to the healthcare facilities by the government has resulted to charges in service provision. The charges are strictly for the consumables like cotton wool, needle and syringe etc. and not for FP commodities. The cost for FP services varies and in most cases clients are unable to afford it. I initiated a technical working group to raise funds. The funds raised was used to procure FP consumables for government owned facilities, so that FP can be free for all.

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

Despite recent interventions to reduce maternal mortality in Nigeria through family planning programming, its rates remain unacceptably high. There is need to address the myths and misconceptions about family planning and most importantly, youth friendly healthcare services should be available, accessible, and affordable to young persons in Nigeria. Government also needs to increase its budgetary provision for family planning.

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

I aim to become a Family planning Advocate with hands-on technical expertise and proven experiences in public health policy and leadership. I intend to contribute significantly to the growing networks and establishment of structures for youth friendly health services so that family planning barriers will be a thing of the past in my country. Lastly, I hope to see a health system with effective supply chain management of FP products to the end users.

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