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Nurse Agness: Building Trust with Women and Girls

In her 20 years as a nurse at Magugu Health Center in Tanzania, Agness Minja has heard just about every myth circulating in her community about family planning. Last week, a client came into the clinic, insisting on discontinuing her contraceptive pills-she heard they would accumulate in her uterus over time and hurt her.

Agness reassured the woman, explaining that the pills are absorbed in the blood and will not build up inside of her. On the contrary, the pills can help her live a healthy life and plan her future.

Every day, Agness counsels some 25 women every day on their contraceptive options, including reversible methods that enable women to decide when they're ready to expand their family. Agness is proud to be able to offer her clients a wide range of choices, including condoms, pills, injections, and intrauterine devices, as well as permanent methods-all of which are available with funding from EngenderHealth's ACQUIRE Tanzania Project and the government of Tanzania.

"In the past, we often had to refer women to other facilities to get certain services, especially long-term family planning," Agness said. "But after our training from EngenderHealth, women and girls who come in can get what they need and want."

Agness is one of more than 27,000 people trained by EngenderHealth to provide family planning in more than 20 countries around the world. Because of our training, more women have access to quality counseling services, along with a wider selection of family planning methods.

The most popular contraceptive method among her clients is the hormone injection, Agness notes, because it's quick to administer and allows women to use it discreetly among their family members, friends, and community.

Growing up, Agness wanted to be a teacher, but her parents encouraged her to study public health so she could become a nurse and help her family. Agness has three children of her own. Indeed today, she is bringing hope of a brighter future to many more women, far beyond her own family.

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