Reproductive health seeking behaviour

Everyone has a right to life and good living but this comes with the individual’s responsibility to ensure that they do not do anything that could put their lives in danger.

No one goes through life without experiencing one illness or another yet some people either ignore unusual changes in their bodies or misinterpret what is really happening.

For example, someone who gains a lot of weight will put it down to kupeza bwino (enjoying life); someone experiencing weight loss will say “I am dieting” and someone getting lighter skin will think it is a result of using good soap or lotion.

While these scenarios may indeed be true, it is also possible that ill health is setting in. People need to know what their normal health status is, learn to be conscious of any abnormal changes that may herald illness and seek appropriate health care.

The emphasis here is on appropriate health care. People also need to know that one does not need to feel pain to be really ill. This is why medical checkups should be routinely sought. Of course, the challenge is that many nurses, clinical officers and doctors will probably turn you away if you have no medical problem, which is a pity as it defeats the purpose of health promotion.

The situation is compounded by the fact that our health care system does not have adequate human and material resources and is geared more towards curative than  preventive reproductive health services.

We are yet to have “well woman and men” clinics (other than family planning clinics!).

Some of the questions or concerns sent to this column seem to indicate that people seek care from “health” facilities that lack the necessary expertise to deal with their reproductive health problems.

Childbearing men and women need to make good judgement regarding the kind of reproductive health problems that they can take to a clinic and those that need attention at a big health facility where doctors can see them.

It is also advisable to seek a second opinion when a reproductive health problem persists. There is need to ask the health care worker what the problem is and what the medications are expected to do in the body.

Be empowered because this is your life and you have a right to it.

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