Bernice is 18. She lives in Karago, Uganda.
In rural Uganda, the opportunities for young people to access long-acting, effective forms of contraception are few and far between. Much of the area is supported by public sector providers, who are not always trained to provide a full range of contraceptive methods or have the right products in stock to offer them.
That’s why MSI’s program in Uganda partnered with the Ministry of Health to transform contraceptive choice through the public sector. MSI and the Government of Uganda have partnered to shift community norms around reproductive healthcare, build public sector provider skills and confidence in offering a full range of contraceptive methods, support evidence-based decision-making with client data, and ensure facilities have the right supplies in place to provide full contraceptive choice.
Through the partnership, there was a particular focus on ensuring services are accessible to those who are often left behind by health systems, including adolescents. One client who accessed an IUD with a public sector provider trained by MSI Uganda was Bernice, age 18 from Karago:
“Health workers came to our school and taught us the benefits of contraception,” Bernice shared. “I decided to use contraception, because I have a boyfriend and I want to avoid pregnancy. I want to complete university, get a job and get married, before children.”
As Bernice shared, a lack of access to contraception leaves the health and futures of women and girls in her community on the line. “Unplanned pregnancy leads to school drop-outs and family problems,” she told us. “I Know a girl who had an early pregnancy and her family chased her, she dropped out of school and her boyfriend didn’t take any responsibility.”
Fortunately, Bernice and her friends were able to access the contraceptive method of their choice. “I chose the IUD – some of my friends were already using it and said it was good,” she shared. “Now I encourage my friends to use contraception too.”
“I’d like to thank the health workers for visiting our school and educating us on contraception, and for always being there to help in case of any problems. Contraception has helped me remain in school and prepare for a good future.”
In 2022, we partnered with governments in more than 24 countries to train providers and increase the quality and reach of services across more than 6,000 public sector delivery sites, reaching 6 million clients. Almost 800,000 of those clients were young people like Bernice.