Perpetwa was born in a small village in Mubende, a district in the central region of Uganda. She dropped out school in the 6th grade, explaining, “my father didn’t have the money to continue with my education.” After dropping out of school, Perpetwa was married at age 14, a marriage arranged by her parents.
Shortly after getting married, Perpetwa began having children. Today she has seven children and works as a farmer, growing grains, corn, and beans. She sells most of her crop to earn a small income and keeps “some of it to eat.” When asked what her greatest challenge is, Perpetwa said, “worrying about money.” While she is able to afford school fees for her younger children, she noted that the money needed for fees for the older children is “increasing by the day,” and she “can’t afford the requirements.”
Perpetwa began using family planning after hearing about it on the radio. “I don’t want any other children … I have enough,” she said, explaining her rationale behind using contraception. She used to use contraceptive pills, but added she didn’t prefer them due to the side effects she experienced. Now she uses Sayana Press, a three-month injectable contraceptive she learned about from Alfunsi Sentongo, a Village Health Team (VHT) worker, trained by PATH, a USAID-supported global health organization. “This time around, I went to my brother, the [village health team] VHT member, and he told me about this Sayana, and I’m using it,” she said.
Without access to contraception, Perpetwa added, “I would be pregnant now. I would be having another baby.” With seven children, “you may get what you eat, but you have to be worried all the time,” Perpetwa said. She explained the difficulty of balancing her work requirements with taking care of her small children, saying, “I have one [baby] now, but I have to the garden with her. It’s really hard.”
For Perpetwa, access to the contraceptive injection provided every three months by Alfunsi, her village health team worker, enables her to build a better life for her children. “Because I’m planning my family, I’m able to work for my children,” she said. “I would like my children’s lives to be better, not like mine.”
Alfunsi Sentongo, village health team (VHT) worker trained by PATH to counsel and provide contraception in his community, outside his home in Mubende with a Sayana Press injection
Perpetwa’s access to her three-month injectable contraceptive is thanks to a partnership between PATH, USAID, the Government of Uganda, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), and other partners. PATH leveraged assistance from USAID to develop the Sayana Press Uniject injection system that combines drug and needle in one, making it easy to distribute and use by both community health workers like Alfunsi and women who may want to inject themselves. UNFPA also plays the critical role of purchasing Sayana Press and distributing it for free. PATH has trained over 1,200 VHT workers, distributed 70,000 doses of Sayana Press in Uganda, and plans to expand provision to other women, like Perpetwa, in need. Click here to learn more.
“Because I’m planning my family, I’m able to work for my children. I would like my children’s lives to be better, not like mine.”