From Bitter Cola to Copper T: Stories from Calabar

On the first day of a two-day Clinic Support Day (CSD) which held at Mambo Clinic earlier this year, a couple came to the clinic desperate to get help. They needed a solution to a challenge they were facing on family planning.

A 36 year-old man, Felix O, an OND holder who works as a front desk officer at a small firm while his fiancé is Miss E, a secondary school leaver. He intends to complete the traditional marriage rites before the end of the first quarter of 2013 so that they could formally live together as a legally married couple.

Mr. Ogar stated that he and Eno want to prevent pregnancy because “it will be rather awkward for me to go and tell her parents that the girl I took to the city just some months ago is already pregnant without my finalising the traditional marriage rites”. He commented that Eno told him that her friends told her that bitter cola is a very good contraceptive, so she chews a large quantity of bitter cola or concentrated salt solutions. Felix however feels this is not a good solution, it is ineffective. This situation was of grave worry to Felix.

Felix became interested in the Family Planning programme at the clinic when he observed people in uniforms and heard that they were interpersonal communication conductors (IPCCs) who educate people about Family Planning. While visiting a shop, he overheard the IPCCs talking to the shop owner about family planning and how Copper T prevents unwanted pregnancy. He immediately alerted Eno and they got a referral card from the IPCC which they took to the referral clinic.

Felix expressed happiness, relief and gratitude saying “now we do not have to worry about pregnancy before [we] get married”.

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