Eunice Ogunlade is a healthcare counselor in Lagos State, Nigeria. Since she attended the Quality of Care Training, she has been making efforts to enlighten women and girls about sexual and reproductive health. In this interview, she speaks about what inspired her interest in SRHR and how the training changed her perspective on abortion.
Tell us about yourself?
Eunice: I work as a teacher in a primary school, I also serve there as a medical officer rendering first aid to pupils that are injured. I am also a health counselor; I counsel people with minor health issues. I enlighten them and give advice for them to go for check-ups.
What sparked your interest in sexual and reproductive health for women and girls?
Eunice: For women, some married women don’t believe in family planning to control the number of children they have. They usually say that children are the gift of God or some even say it is not effective whereas they haven’t even tried it before. So, it is difficult to convince such people until they start experiencing health challenges after giving birth to many children. For girls, they see sex as fun so we have to organize seminars to talk to them about sex.
What challenges have you experienced that affect quality of sexual and reproductive healthcare?
Eunice: Some people have health challenges but because of money they will not come forward to treat themselves. Others, if you ask them to go to the hospital, they complain that the general hospitals will waste their time or that the health workers would not attend to them properly. Even the private hospitals around are very expensive. Although we try to help people within our capacity the challenges are too much. It bothers me. Even with family planning, some people don’t even have transport fares to go to the clinics. Healthcare workers need a lot of training and capacity building to be able to provide quality care to patients. This will go a long way in influencing many of Nigeria’s healthcare outcomes.
How important is Comprehensive Sexual Education to improving the quality of sexual and reproductive healthcare?
Eunice: To me, it is very important because it is not every girl having sex that knows the implications and how to protect themselves. Even married women, many of them don’t know how they can protect themselves. Some even see family planning as taboo. I feel giving health talks can help these people and enlighten them. More seminars and training should be conducted for these people. For example, in my community in Ikotun, if there is more training for these people through small groups in schools and churches, it would really help them.
How did the Quality of Care Training affect your perspective on abortion?
Eunice: On the issue of abortion, I learned that it is not totally illegal in Nigeria. I learned that abortions are not totally bad and can be carried out especially when there is a threat to the woman’s life. Also, if the woman is pregnant after giving birth to many children, we were taught to advise her to see a doctor ascertain if she would be able to carry the baby till her due date. So, it is not every abortion that is wrong.