“My job is good. It makes me happy. I like to be out here helping women and saving lives.”
Afride is a registered nurse working in MSI Reproductive Choices' outreach team in the Manyara region of Tanzania. Passionate about family planning, she helps take our services to remote and difficult to reach areas – including those affected by civil war – so that women can access information about contraception and HIV.
“I have always wanted to be a nurse and I studied, and got my qualifications from KCMC, a big medical centre in Moshi. I joined [MSI Reproductive Choices] because of my passion for family planning and at first I worked in two of their clinics before joining the outreach team in Manyara three years ago."
Afride works in a team of three, travelling all around the region, talking to women about how to protect themselves from early or unwanted pregnancies and discussing HIV and other sexual health matters, including contraception and where to access it.
A key part of the team’s remit is to take services into difficult to reach areas, to parts of the region not served by clinics or hospitals – as a way to open up contraception to women who otherwise wouldn’t have access to it.
“Some of the areas are hard to get to, particularly during the rainy season. We have to be pulled out of the mud by a tractor so we can keep going. We sometimes travel through areas affected by civil wars – wars between the farmers and pastoral communities. That can be scary because of the aggression and the problems there.
“The job also means spending a lot of time away from home, which is hard when you have a young family at home, as I do.”
Afride has a ten year old son and a six year old daughter, who are looked after by her husband Eric while she is working. Being away for three weeks at a time isn’t easy but taking on the job was a decision her and her husband came to jointly, and he is happy to support her in the work she’s doing.
“I wanted to go out on outreach a few years ago, but put it off while my kids were really young. I then planned it with my husband, and we both agreed I could do it for a while, and then go back to working in one of the clinics. For now, my husband is okay with it. And my kids know I’ll be back every three weeks to see them, and they will be there waiting for me.”
Babies used to be thrown out into the street. And you don’t hear of mothers who have died due to unsafe abortions. I know that Marie Stopes has helped this.
Despite the challenges of her role, Afride is hugely positive about the work of her team, and believes strongly in getting family planning out to young women in the region.
“My job is good. It makes me happy. I like to be out here helping women and saving lives. Myself, James and Willy travel and work well together. And I enjoy being out talking to clients and helping them get the contraception they need and seeing them happy afterwards.
“Things have also changed a lot in the region. Babies used to be thrown out into the street, you don’t hear about that anymore. And you don’t hear of mothers who have died due to unsafe abortions, those cases are much rarer. I know that MSI has helped this. People know about family planning now.”