Contraceptive and Family Planning Services giant Marie Stop Uganda have on Thursday, March 10 launched a new campaign dubbed ‘For Every Stage Of Women’.
This was at their main branch at Forest Mall in Lugogo where they interacted with the general public and media.
The new campaign is aimed at repositioning Marie Stops as a health institution that is available for woman at various stages in life.
The ceremony was presided over by celebrated journalist Flavia Tumusiime flanked by Marie Stops Uganda Country Manager Dr. Carol Ssekimpi.
Panelists included journalists Andrew Kyamagero and Annatalia Ozie, Makerere University student Joan Atuhaire plus AIDS Commission’s Flavia Kyomukama.
What They Said At The Launch
Carol Ssekimpi, Mariestops Country Director
“At Marie Stops, we are women’s friend. As I speak today 2.1m women in Uganda are using a method of family planning that is provided by Marie Stops so that means we have talked to them and understood their issues. In 2021 One Million women walked through our doors for different reasons which shows how close we are to women, know them and understand them. We know that women at all stages of life have challenges and barriers and one of them is access to quality health. Some comes from our cultures and others are because of financial exclusion, geographical barriers and then luck of information as we grow up. We understand that a woman’s reproductive health goes beyond contraception and that is why we are repositioning our selves as Marie Stops from being an organisation that takes care of that to being one that is there for every woman at every stage of the reproductive journey. We know that that journey has many milstones from the beginning of Menstruation, first sexual encounter, motherhood to Menopausal. We know Women go through alot at different stages and we are here to help them out. As we celebrate the Women’s month this year, us at Marie Stops we are coming out to say that we are committed to support every woman at every stage of her life. We are better placed to provide for women at different stages of their lives.”
Faith Kyateka, Marie Stops Head of Communication
“The campaign is aimed at repositioning Marie Stops to serve women from Menstruation to Menopausal. We have been known for family planning and Contraceptives but what we have realised is that women issues tend not to be positioned right. We are extending our support to women at all stages so as to take care of their needs. We know and encourage men engagement because we know it is key in all stages of women. We are here to empower women and encourage them to succeed in whatever they are doing. We also want to reassure women so that they know that we are here for them.”
Andrew Kyamagero, Journalist
“I come from a family of seven children and I grew up with my sisters and I could see how much they went through at every stage. When they were going through their menstrual days I would see that they were having a bad day. They were hidden away from me during those days but I found out what they go through after I was told by my sister. Eventually, my mother sat me down and told me all about it. Sometimes I would try to stay away from them but deep down I knew that it was my responsibility to protect my sisters. When I was in school, I used to notice some unconventional conversations between boys and the way they would approach it was wrong and I talked to them to make them understand that it was normal. When I met my first girl friend, I had some knowledge about it but still I asked my elder sister for advice about how to approach the matter. The onus is on us to normalise this conversation so that everyone has enough information about it.”
Atuhaire Joan, University Student
“I grew up in between a slam and a residential area. The children in my area were very assertive about life but what stood out was the fact that they never reached University. What stood out was the lack of access to information as the people around us only cared about making money. I was lucky enough that I progressed in school and started accessing information and eventually learned about Menstruation and I am lucky that my first experience happened when I was prepared. I was told about pain and was amazed when it first happened and didn’t feel any pain. I could not talk to my parents until later on because I didn’t know how to initiate the conversation. Mum eventually figured it out and she used to send me to school with pads. When I was starting to become an adult, I started experiencing cramps which would be very bad and at times I ended up in hospital.”
Flavia Kyomukama, Uganda AIDS Commission
“I am glad to be here. I am someone who was never given anything to use during my Menstruation and my mum never saw me during that period. At 19, I was pregnant and didn’t know what to do. Gave birth to twins who unfortunately passed on but I produced another. Biologically and emotionally, we have been tuned to learn what to do. For me, SRHR is not about Menstruation, its about sex and the emotional support that you get. I am HIV positive since 1994 and I chose to declare but I also chose to re-marry at 40. When I was 32, I decided to have my last baby and chose to stop producing children. I had three children at that time because the others had passed on. I urge girls to set boundaries and know what they want.”
Annatalia Ozie, TV Personality
“I am one of the luckiest young women and I say that with alot of pride. I got married to a friend who is always there for me. He has always filled in for me whenever I am not able to take care of our child. He is very supportive and it is supposed to be a responsibility of both the man and woman when it comes to living. I have always cautioned people to advise men that they should make sure they engage themselves in all stages of a woman and not to let the woman shoulder all the burden. I am glad that their are institutions like Marie Stops who are here to create awareness about all the stages of a woman and let everyone know that they are concerned and have a role to play.”