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Mobilizing for Change

Educating a Muslim Community about Benefits of Family Planning
“I will not allow a day to pass without preaching the ‘gospel’ of family planning.” - Honourable Dan Mussa
"I will not allow a day to pass without preaching the ‘gospel’ of family planning.”
Honourable Dan Mussa

Though he has retired from his professional career, Honourable Dan Mussa has taken it as his personal quest to ensure that women and men are well educated about family planning.  As a former nursing officer with over 30 years providing health services, his concern for women and children naturally led him to become a NURHI social mobilizer.

Mussa was turned onto the NURHI project by Shaikh Basairi Salahudeen, a member of the NURHI Advocacy Core Group and Chairman of the Ward Development Committee.  The situation in Mussa’s Muslim Hausa community also motivated him to become more actively involved in family planning.  “This [family planning] becomes imperative in a settlement where you have a man having three wives and thirty children living in a rented apartment,” Mussa says. “Nutritionally, educationally and socially, they, as a family cannot cope at all.”

He calls on such people each day to suggest that they give family planning a try. “If these children are not well fed (and there is no way they can be well fed in this case), it does not help them as a family, nor does it help the community at large,” the soft spoken Mussa laments.

He recalls a typical day counseling individuals in the Local Government Area of Sabo about the benefits of family planning, “In one of my outings as a mobilizer I came across a friend who was lamenting because of his inability to feed his family of four.”  Mussa explained to his friend how child spacing could help him have only the number of children he could manage, and encouraged him to discuss the topic with his wife.  Soon after, the man took his wife to Sabo Primary Health Centre.  They decided on an injectable contraceptive that provides protection against pregnancy for months at a time.

Thrilled with the results, Mussa’s friend spoke to four other men who also took their wives for family planning services.  “I regularly refer people to the centre and people often ask me to lead them to the centre,” he said. “All these people are now enjoying their marriages better!”

 “I like talking to people about family planning because it puts the fear of unwanted pregnancy and abortion out of the way,” Mussa declares. “The advantages of family planning far outweigh the disadvantages. I know my community people. I will continue to talk to them until they imbibe the family planning idea.”