Improving Reproductive Health Services in India

For 30 years, Mrs. Gayatri has worked as a health provider at various government centers in India. Despite her long career and her patients’ constant requests for longer-lasting methods of birth control, Mrs. Gayatri had limited experience with a common contraception method, the intra-uterine device (IUD). Her lack of experience with the IUD led to her bias against the family planning method. She would say, “the IUD insertion is not a good method, the patient faces problems because of it.”

Mrs. Gayatri’s opinion was changed during a Pathfinder International IUD training program in December 2007, which helped her realize mistakes she had been making during IUD insertion. She hadn’t learned how to properly measure the length of the uterus to better position the IUD, nor had she understood the need to thoroughly sterilize all the equipment.

Mrs. Gayatri is now able to successfully insert IUDs by carefully following the critical steps that she learned during Pathfinder International’s training program. Today, Mrs. Gayatri regularly provides IUDs as a long-term contraceptive option at her public health center.

She also actively encourages women to use IUDs during her routine field visits to her community. She is not discouraged when faced with misconceptions about IUDs from others—misconceptions just like the ones she used to have. Instead, she is bolstered by the patients who have shared their positive experiences and encouraged others to go to government health centers for an IUD.

By training reproductive health care providers, Pathfinder International has not just created healthier outcomes for women but also emboldened many of them to educate other women in their communities about family planning options.