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Nurse from Assam enlightens women on family planning
By Resmi Sivaram July 14, 2015
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New Delhi: The clock has struck 9:15 am and Rehana Begum Laskar gets busy sterilising equipment and cleaning the Operation Theatre. Within minutes, patients will start walking in and she would get occupied till 3-4 pm, assisting doctor, attending patients and counselling women on pregnancy care and family planning services. This has remained her schedule for the last 27 years — a span that has witnessed her progression from a young girl to a home-maker and to a mother of two. But one thing that has remained constant is her gritty resolve to go to hospital daily, come what may, and enlighten her community, especially women, with healthcare awareness.

Recently her work has found a special focus on IUCD as a safe, reversible method in spacing and she has now developed special expertise in conducting IUCD insertions.

Meet 47-year-old Rehana Begum Laskar, an Auxiliary Nurse & Midwife (ANM) working at Hailakandi Civil Hospital in Assam. Born in a farmer’s family at Bashbari village, Hailakandi, she grew up seeing young women dying because of paucity of information on family planning. Her conservative family background and financial constraints didn’t deter a young Rehana from completing her high school and joining Bashbari Sub Centre under Algapur Primary Health Centre (PHC) as an ANM in 1988. Later, she joined Hailakandi Civil Hospital in 1990. Marriage, pregnancies or husband’s illness — nothing daunted her from her services.

“I realised that women had little or no information on family planning as every year I would see the same women turning up for deliveries at Hailakandi Civil Hospital,” says Rehana.

She started encouraging women to avail healthcare services before, during and after their pregnancies. “Also, I started counselling women on contraception and motivating them to make an informed choice, not a forced one,” she adds.

A training session on No Touch Technique of IUCD (Intra Uterine Contraceptive Device) Insertions and Infection Prevention, organised by Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust (HLFPPT), a not-for-profit organisation working on Reproductive and Child Healthcare, for Hailakandi Hospital staff in 2013, proved to be a game-changer for Rehana.

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