Promoting Male Involvement in RMNCH Services Through CHIPS Agents Referral
By Bashir A. Bashir
Mallam Muhammad Musa and his wife Adama live in an uncompleted shanty in Nasarawa, Galdimari Ward, a suburban area of Biu LGA in Maiduguri. They are of the Bura tribe. Adama got married to Musa at the age of 17 while Musa was 30. Within 7 years of marriage, they had 4 children without birth spacing. The first 3 children were delivered at home, and Adama had no access to Antenatal Care (ANC) and delivery services from any health facility.
Life is not easy for Musa because his sources of income are irregular. Adama is a housewife and completely dependent on him. He is a local bricklayer and often borrows land for subsistence farming of maize and rice.
Musa wanted his wife to access ANC and deliver their next child in the health facility. However, Musa’s mother, out of sympathy for them, convinced the couple not to visit any health facility because they would have to spend money. She believes that with the support of the family members, Adama will give birth at home safely again. She also told Malam Musa that he was delivered at home just as they all were.
During a routine house-to-house visit, the Community Health Influencers, Promoters and Services (CHIPS) programme (CHIPS) agent discovered what was happening. She identified that the woman has severe abdominal pain, a sign of complication in pregnancy. The CHIPS agent educated the couple, the elderly women in the household, and the in-laws on complications in pregnancy and the dangers of home delivery. The CHIPS agent convinced them to use CHIPS job aids provided by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) through SFH-HeRoN. Musa and his wife agreed and visited MCH Biu in Zarawuyaku for ANC. After examination, findings revealed Adama was 21 weeks pregnant, and her child was in a breech position. She later continued with visitation for continuity of care and antenatal visits to the hospital. The baby was finally in a normal position, and she successfully gave birth to a baby girl, Hafsa, through vaginal delivery on 5th February 2022.
On 25th April 2022, during an interview with the Documentation and Communication Coordinator, Musa stated that “CHIPS Agent visits us regularly to inform us on the benefits of ANC and dangers of home delivery. She also escorted my wife to the hospital for ANC and delivery. We are also practising exclusive breastfeeding, and Hafsa is the healthiest child in the family. She is taking immunization and rarely gets ill. Hafsa is looking radiate and chubby. This makes me very happy.”
On the 29th of April 2022, the couple was escorted to the health facility to access FP service. After group counselling, the couple selected Depo Provera birth control injection from the various methods and types of FP services. A medical examination was conducted, and Adama was found medically fit for the depo injection. The injection was administered, and they happily left the facility feeling fulfilled.