Hospital staff trained to provide family planning.
This article insert describes a program in Cali, Colombia, for training hospital staff in family planning counseling of postabortion patients. Hospital staff at Hospital Universitario del Valle treats about 250 women per month for complications of incomplete abortion. Many are repeat clients. Unwanted pregnancies are attributed to lack of contraception, incorrect use of contraception, and mistaken beliefs about the protective properties of drinking seven glasses of water after intercourse. Postabortion patients range in age from 12 years to over 49 years. 14% are aged under 20 years. The number of women with abortion complications or women with miscarriages puts pressure on inadequate staff and facilities. Therefore, the hospital introduced a new program for postabortion patients. The program includes family planning counseling and provision of contraceptives before release from the hospital. Women are also informed of where to obtain contraceptive supplies in their local communities. The hospital must refer women seeking sterilization to secondary health facilities due to the intensive use of operating rooms. Family planning counseling includes information about the use of traditional and modern methods. Staff members who are trained in family planning include all levels from volunteers to physicians. The hospital is trying to improve client-provider relations by eliminating the fear factor. Emergency room department staff are also trained in family planning. The hospital is reaching out to the special needs of indigenous people who are unfamiliar with hospital settings and family planning information. Hospital staff provide each patient or client with a card that indicates the date of the woman's next menstrual cycle on a calendar. Staff inform the client that family planning must be used before the cycle begins. A variety of methods are explained.
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