Halima is a nurse midwife from Burkina Faso who provides family planning and reproductive health care around the capital city, Ouagadougou. She has been with Marie Stopes Burkina Faso since 2013, working as a Marie Stopes Lady. Marie Stopes Ladies like Halima are midwives or nurses who work in areas with high unmet need for family planning services. They receive training from Marie Stopes country programs, and then deliver family planning care directly in their communities.
Under this innovative model - currently operating in 10 countries - nurse midwives are empowered as entrepreneurs to deliver high-quality services while generating additional income for themselves and their families. And because Marie Stopes Ladies are members of the communities they serve, clients are able to access services from providers they trust. The local Marie Stopes Lady could be your sister, aunt or neighbor – someone who knows your community and how to meet the needs of women in that unique place.
“I was well trained by Marie Stopes Burkina Faso, and the clients are satisfied because they receive good information and high-quality services,” Halima explains, “I am proud to work for Marie Stopes and have good relationships with the women I serve, who sometimes even come to my house to receive advice or services.”
Halima decided to join the Marie Stopes team after hearing about its services and impact in the country. “I was struck by the work that Marie Stopes Burkina Faso does. Marie Stopes is a good organization because we help many women access family planning at low cost. Marie Stopes also helps youth to have good information about sexual and reproductive health.
So I decided to join the team to help change the lives of thousands of women who need family planning and reproductive health services. Through our services, we help them to flourish.”
Halima is incredibly mobile, taking her services to hard-to-reach places. She uses her motorbike to reach communities around Ouagadougou, delivering voluntary contraception and reproductive health care directly to women in need. She often travels to local health facilities to meet with groups of women, although she also welcomes men into these sessions.
“I start with a group counseling session and then provide the family planning methods of choice to the women. The women understand that there are many benefits from family planning. Women who use family planning can earn more income and can better look after their children. More and more men are understanding the benefits, too, and even accompanying their wives to the centers.”
Halima goes directly to women who may not otherwise have access to care, providing them with a full range of contraceptive options. The Sayana Press injection is one contraceptive method becoming increasingly popular with Halima’s clients. Injected under the skin instead of into muscle, the Sayana Press is so small, light, and easy-to-use that it is ideal for community health workers to administer, and even for women to inject themselves.
“The craze for Sayana Press is such that some women are switching from other methods. They find that the product design is very attractive and it is simple to use because the needle is small.”
Not only is Halima helping the women in her community – she’s also benefitting from her role as a Marie Stopes Lady. “With my monthly salary, I can contribute to the family expenses and the development of my children.” She’s also chosen to use the Sayana Press herself, and has seen the impacts of family planning and reproductive health care in her own life in her ability to space her births and continue to work.
“I am happy with the results that I have produced because many people’s worries have been solved.”