Nosiru rushes into the living room of the house yelling “Madam! Madam! Hafsat dey comot blood for im body”! Hafsat is Nosiru’s pregnant wife who is expecting her fourth child in a span of three years. Nosiru lives with his family in the Boy’s Quarters of Madam Alice’s house, where he serves as her security man. Alice immediately backs her car out of her drive-in and rushes Hafsat to the Emergency Ward of the nearest hospital. The Doctor checks Hafsat and immediately performs a “Dilation & Evacuation” as he announces that Hafsat has suffered a miscarriage. After requesting her history, she is referred to the Family Planning Clinic where she is invited to the next presentation on child spacing and birth control methods.

A little background about – Hafsat.  She was born to a family of eleven children and had no basic education but assisted her mother in petty trading. She was given out in marriage to Nosiru at the age of fifteen and within a span of three years had four pregnancies resulting in three births and the current miscarriage. This miscarriage almost resulted in the loss of her life.

Upon her discharge from the hospital, Hafsat informs Nosiru as advised about attending the family planning clinic. Immediately, Nosiru kicks up a storm insisting that she will not be allowed to attend as only PROSTITUTES embark on family planning as a prevention for the consequence of unwanted pregnancies while carrying out their promiscuous activities. Hafsat then approaches Madam Alice to plead with Nosiru. Madam Alice invites the couple to her lounge and the following conversation ensues:

“Nosiru, how did you feel when Hafsat was in the emergency room and almost lost her life”? Nosiru replies, “Ah… madam, I fear o. How I go fit to take care of Muhammed, Bukari and Rukiyat? You know say na di small, small thing wey she dey sell we dey take manage plus my salary”.

Madam Alice then turns to Hafsat and asks “what of you, when you woke up after the surgery, how did you feel”? Hafsat replies, “madam, I dey weak, I feel pain but I thank Allah say I no die.”

Madam Alice then counsels them as follows:

“Family Planning is about spacing your children, deciding when to start having them, the intervals taking cognisance of health, economic and other challenges, and has many benefits for married couples. Contraception, which is what you are probably thinking, on the other hand, is a part of family planning but only refers to the prevention of unwanted pregnancy. Contraception could however be part of planning the family but both terms are not synonymous”.

“Let me ask you both”, she continues – “how many children do you want? How many can you take care of when you consider the money you make, feeding them clothing them, and sending them to school, or would you rather they are not educated? Your wife is still young and you are both virile so she can have many more children before she reaches menopause”.

Nosiru immediately responds with “Haba, madam I want my pikin to go to school so dem fit get fine car and house like your own and comot me inside poverty”.

Madam Alice continues “In that case, you will allow Hafsat to attend the clinic so that they can advise her on what to do so that she does not get pregnant and face the challenge of losing the child or her life again. They will consider the type of child spacing method that suits her best – her health, age, what agrees with her constitution, and whether you both may want to have more children later or not. These are some of the things that will be considered before determining what is best for you as a family”.

She further adds “Some of the methods of preventing pregnancy can be classified as temporary or permanent They can also be natural or artificially induced. Methods are as varied and different as there are individuals and what works for one person may not work for another which is why she must see the specialists in the field to give her that which is best suited to her. It may even be a combination of methods”.

With that,  Nosiru gives his consent to Hafsat’s attendance at the clinic and thanks Madam Alice. Just as they exit Madam Alice’s lounge, in walks her friend Faustina. Faustina throws a teaser to Alice “Alice, I overheard your counsel but what do you think about counseling high school leavers about contraception, given the state of sexual permissiveness in our environment and the consequences of unwanted pregnancies for both the girl child and the society at large”?

Alice replies with a chuckle… “Faustina, that is a discussion for another day.”




Pikin                            A West African pidgin word for child

Comot                         A pidgin word meaning leave, exit. Get out of etc,

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