“I love my job because I have learned so many things that I didn’t know before.”
Willy Olomi works as driver for the Marie Stopes Tanzania outreach team in Manyara. He is married with four children aged 16, 12, 7 and 6.
“I joined Marie Stopes in 2002 and I love my job because I have learned so many things that I didn’t know before. Now I know all the different family planning methods and how they work and I am happy to be able to help a Marie Stopes client when they come to the Outreach Clinic. We have also been using family planning methods – the three year implant - as we wanted our children to be spaced.”
Like with all Marie Stopes International outreach teams, everyone on the Manyara team shares tasks and supports each other where needed. So as well as drive the team to their location, Willy will help register and comfort clients, and sterilise treatment areas.
“I am not just a driver; I am also a ‘Vocal Local’, which I learned about from Marie Stopes. We drivers were all trained. What we do is during a tubal ligation or a vasectomy surgery, when the client might not be comfortable; we keep on talking to them to make them relaxed and not to think about the operation that is going on.”
Vocal Local is an innovative form of pain relief pioneered by Marie Stopes International that involves distracting the client with talking and singing. It is usually used in combination with pharmacological analgesics, but is just as effective on its own. As analgesics can be associated with side-effects, and are costly and subject to frequent stock-outs, Vocal Local is particularly suited to outreach in remote and rural settings. Willy explains:
“I ask the client her name, how many kids does she have, where are they, how old are they, etc. I ask many questions. Then I might tell her about the operation, that what they are doing is quick and that they mustn’t worry, they must be comfortable. If they are farmers, I ask them about their crops and their farm.”
When asked what challenges he faces in his job, Willy says:
“Some of the clients, they don’t want to speak to me (as a Vocal Local) so I just sit quietly, others will make some noise so I have to work harder to convince her that she is ok. Or I am respectful and I keep quiet.
People do tell me ‘why do you work for Marie Stopes and you have been there for so many years, why?’ but I don’t feel offended. I just tell them that I like working for Marie Stopes, and I like giving the services that they provide to many different people who I meet each day.”