UBS requires that they show menstrual pads for birth control

“If we do not prove that we are menstruating, we do not take the injection of the month. They require us to show the pad to take the contraceptive.” This is the report of one of the eight women who prefer not to identify themselves, but were heard by public health worker and activist Maria Giovana fortune. The professional, who works with social collective health projects in vulnerable regions of the city of Americana (129 km from São Paulo) made the complaint on her social networks at the end of March.

In an interview with universeMaria Giovana said that the reports refer to the behavior of health professionals from at least two UBS (Basic Health Units) in Americana. “They said it was common practice. The nurse escorts the patient to the bathroom, closes the door and asks to see the pad.” The application of the injectable contraceptive takes place during the menstrual period, but the exact day may vary depending on the type of medication.

In one of the videos, a woman who already has six children says she gave up taking the injection because of what happened. “Two other women I talked to were already taking the medication, but they went through the same case. Apart from the option of showing the tampon, there is the option of having a blood test. But, because of the delay in getting the result and the humiliation they feel , many stop taking their medication.”

After the complaint was published on the social network, Maria was contacted by other women via direct message on Instagram. They said they were experiencing the same situation in other health posts in the city.

wanted by universe, the Health Department of Americana stated that the complaints are not valid. According to the sector, when a woman arrives at the unit with a delay of a few days to take the injection, a request for a pregnancy test is made. “This type of conduct is unacceptable and impracticable. A fact that was never verified by the employees, as well as by the coordination of the Primary Care Unit.”

The rule is just to ask the woman if she is menstruating, without requiring any “proof”. The official recommendation is: check the medication prescription, give the information about the injection and believe what the woman is saying when she says she is on the correct day for the contraceptive application.

Patient without application

B.* is a manicurist and has two children. Three years ago, she started using injectable contraceptives at Parque da Liberdade, post 19, in Americana. But nearly a year ago, nurses began offering two options to prove she’s not pregnant: take a blood test or show the tampon with her period. To prove that she is menstruating, the nurse escorts the patient to the bathroom, closes the door and she has to pull down her pants and show the blood. “I even refused to show the tampon and went home without taking the injection.”

“Even if you have the prescription, you have to do the blood test, which used to take a week, now it takes 15 days to give the result. So, the patient ends up staying all these days without the application.”

Five months ago, L.*, a 33-year-old general service assistant, started using injectable contraceptives at UBS Parque da Liberdade. She received the doctor’s indication for the medication, but, from the first time she tried, she was faced with the embarrassing situation. “I went for an injection, the nurse asked if it was ‘coming down for me’. I said yes. She replied that for me to take the medication I would either have to take a pregnancy test or show her the pad.”

According to her account, if she chose to take the exam, she would have to wait about a month, between scheduling the exam, obtaining the result and applying the medication. That’s why she ended up choosing to show the tampon. “I went into a room, she locked the door and asked to see. I pulled my pants down, showed her the pad and got the injection. It was embarrassing.”

On the second attempt to take the injection, the situation repeated itself. L.* chose to have a blood test. The first time, he clotted, so he repeated and waited more than 20 days for the result. “After that time, they couldn’t find the result of my exam. In the end, they did, but, because of the delay, I lost the time to send the medication. So I have to go to the doctor again to take another type of injection .”

Due to the delay and for not wanting to go through the same embarrassment, the assistant says that she will not try to go to the clinic a third time to take the contraceptive. She, who is already the mother of four children, including a girl under one year old, is using condoms as a condom, but says she is afraid of getting pregnant again.

Complaint is repeated

D.* is 20 years old and has a son. He has been taking the injectable contraceptive for two years. Every three months, the young woman goes to the Parque Gramado clinic, in Americana, to receive the medication, but twice she was approached in the same way as the manicurist and the general services assistant. In these two moments, she arrived at the post with the application date delayed.

The first time, when the nurse asked if she was menstruating, the young woman confirmed the information, but the professional did not believe it. “She said I would have to go into a room, drop my pants and show the pad. I didn’t want to show it. This is a humiliation for all of us, I preferred to take the exam.”

Other side

Searched for by the universe, attendants at UBS Parque da Liberdade, post 19, did not want to hear the complaint and indicated the Secretary of Health to give a position. At the Parque Gramado Post, Alberto Sebastião Santos, the nurse responsible for the unit, denied that the request to see the patients’ absorbent was happening.

“When it’s late, we ask for a blood test. Nobody asks to go to the bathroom. No post does such a thing, it’s wrong,” he said.

“Do you think a professional will lower himself, ask a woman to take off her panties to check if she is bleeding? I wanted to know who the patients were who said that. Because talking is easy, I want to see it proven. Who will prove it?”, he added. Albert.

The press office of the Health Department of Americana confirmed the information from the spokesperson for the Gramado Post. According to the Health Care Unit, the complaint is not valid.

According to the sector, when a woman arrives at the unit with a delay of a few days to take the injection, a request for a pregnancy test is made. “This type of conduct is unacceptable and impracticable, a fact that has never been verified by the employees, as well as by the coordination of the Primary Care Unit.”

The information about the abuse, according to the press office, “was checked with the Health Care Unit and also with the coordination of these units, mentioned above, as this is the third time they have made the same complaint in less than two months. However, according to the Unit, it does not proceed”.

In the same statement, the Health Department also says that it repudiates any acts of embarrassment to users of the public network and that if they are proven they can generate serious administrative and legal consequences for those who commit them.

The identity of the interviewees was protected at their request.

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