African Faith Groups Cooperate for Family Planning Print {sharethis label=}

Highlights from interviews by Christian Connections for International Health

We have no problem with any of the words… 

“We are a national network including both Catholic and Protestant hospitals throughout our country… We have no problem with any of the words -- family planning, reproductive health, contraceptives -- either in the Ministry of Health or with our Protestant members.  Of course, we must study terms carefully and translate them appropriately into local languages and cultural settings. With Catholic churches and hospitals, we respect their terms and concerns.” 

“Our country is using many different methods of contraception. Full family planning programs are implemented at all our hospitals, except the Catholic institutions. They give health education to patients on preventive methods like rhythm, ovulation, etc. And Catholic hospitals do not deny their patients access to other methods; they refer them to other institutions.”                       

On Referring Patients

CCIH note: This Protestant organization, with help from USAID and other donors, operates a large primary health project, including family planning, in several dozen districts around the country. CCIH interviewed the doctor in charge of family planning activities: 

CCIH: Many of the districts you support have hospitals and programs operated by Catholic groups. What are their attitudes toward family planning and how do you relate to them?

Dr C: The Catholics offer only natural methods of family planning — the necklace, the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM), cervical mucus, temperature (monitoring) fertility regulation. They do not promote other methods.

CCIH: Do the Catholics and Protestant health facilities refer family planning clients back and forth?

Dr C: Oh, yes. When we offer training courses for a district, the personnel from all facilities (Catholic and Protestant) are trained in all family planning methods. Then if a client chooses a FP method not offered in a particular facility, she is referred to a place that does offer it.     

Support … without offending

“Our organization is a national body of both Protestants and Catholics. It can support members who offer family planning, without offending others that do not offer a full range of methods.  Church leaders can take this avenue and talk about family planning in churches as well as in their health facilities. “In addition, an interfaith group including Muslims offers information on family planning and the importance of birth spacing. Its information and services potentially cover a good portion of the country, through churches and mosques.”

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 09 October 2012 17:55 )