The members of Christian Connections for International Health span the globe. They have long-term working relationships with numerous faith groups, health systems and governments. They are uniquely placed to hear and voice the concerns of both health professionals and ordinary citizens. Here CCIH has gathered statements about family planning, its history, and its current strengths and weaknesses in several countries of the Global South.
Zambian Faith Organization Advances Family Planning Advocacy through Faith Communities
Engaging religious leaders and faith communities in family planning advocacy is an effective way to improve domestic investments in family planning. The Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ), a network of Catholic and Protestant Church health institutions, is a partner in the Christian Advocacy for Family Planning in Africa project managed by CCIH and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to build the capacity of religious leaders and Christian denominations in Zambia to advocate for increased funding and supportive policies for family planning services. This one-pager prepared by the Faith to Action Network shares key achievements that increase FP access and commitment by the Zambian government to family planning.
Faith Leaders are Powerful Advocates for Family Planning
Religion is very important in Uganda, with 85% of the population identifying as Christian. Religious leaders are well respected in their communities and are influential on a number of topics, including health. In this video, Reverend Canon Kabanda of the St. Stephens Archdiocese of the Church of Uganda explains why the church supports family planning and how pastors discuss the spiritual aspects of healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies and health workers from the church-affiliated health center explain family planning methods.
Ugandan Faith Leader on Why He Supports Family Planning
Reverend Charles Irongo of the Kyando Church of Uganda discusses what he learned in seminary about the importance of healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies and planning a family you can support. He shares what the command to “be fruitful and multiply” in Genesis chapter 1 verse 28 means to him.
Choices Radio Series | The Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network worked with a radio station in Plateau State Nigeria to produce a series of programs called “Choices” about family planning. The guests include representatives from the Ministry of Health, the Christian Association of Nigeria and academic institutions. Recordings of selected segments are available on the CCIH YouTube Channel.
African Leaders on the Role of the Church in Family Planning | Four leaders from Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia discuss the striking benefits to families and societies when couples are able to plan pregnancies. We also hear from religious leaders why churches are uniquely positioned to educate communities about family planning and reach rural areas with services and supplies. This video was produced in partnership with the Christian Health Association of Kenya, the Churches Health Association of Zambia and the Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network.
Family Radio 316 in Kenya: Religious Leaders Talk Family Planning | In May 2016, religious leaders, along with a medical doctor, representing the Christian Health Association of Kenya appeared on “This Is the Day,” a talk show on Family Radio 316 in Nairobi, Kenya. The leaders answered questions from a live audience about family planning and why it is supported and encouraged by Christian values. | Listen to the Broadcast
Video Series: Pastors in Zambia Discuss Family Planning
1. Why Religious Leaders Must Be Involved in Family Planning Religious leaders from churches in Zambia share their views on why faith leaders should be involved in family planning. Leaders from the Anglican Church in Zambia, the Salvation Army, and the Church of God share how their organizations promote family planning, provide a forum for discussion and in the case of the Salvation Army, provide family planning services at a hospital.
2. Family Planning Helps Families Be Self-Sufficient Religious leaders in Zambia explain why they believe family planning empowers families and helps them to be self sufficient. Faith leaders from the Church of God, Baptist Church, Wesleyan Church, Salvation Army and the Anglican Church discuss the health benefits to mothers and children of healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies. They also refer to scripture supporting the call for parents to support their children and take responsibility for planning their families.
3. Why Churches Talk to Youth about Family Planning Religious leaders in Zambia address how their churches handle the natural curiosity young people have about sex through teen programs and youth meetings designed to help guide youth toward a healthy biblically based attitude. Leaders from the Wesleyan Church, the Reformed Church in Zambia and the Church of God discuss strategies to help youth delay sexual activity and learn to protect their health.
4. God Wants Us To Plan: What the Bible Says about Family Planning Religious leaders in Zambia turn to scripture to explain why they believe Christianity supports family planning. Leaders from the Baptist Church, the Wesleyan Church, and the Reformed Church in Zambia discuss the divine mandate to have dominion over the Earth, only achievable if we are responsible and able to support our families. They also address the misconception that God disapproved of contraception in the story of Onan in Genesis.
Father John Waihiga of Kenya on the Biblical Basis for Family Planning
Father John Waihiga of Kenya Hear Father John Waihiga of the Orthodox Church Kimende in Kiambu County, Kenya share his views on how the Bible supports healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy through the use of family planning for healthier mothers, children, congregations and entire communities. Father John explores scripture, such as 1 Timothy 5:8 and Genesis 1:28, to explain how Christians are following God’s call to be responsible parents and stewards of creation by planning their families.
Faith and Family Planning: A Visual Story
To help dispel the misperception that faith leaders do not support family planning, CCIH partnered with fellow United Nations Foundation Universal Access Program partner Resource Media to produce a visual story featuring interviews with Christian faith and medical leaders explaining why they support family planning. The story features Dr. Tonny Tumwesigye, Executive Director, Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau; Reverend Onesimus Asiimwe, Youth Director, Anglican Church of Uganda; and Dr. Samuel Mwenda, General Secretary, Christian Health Association of Kenya.
Better Access to Family Planning and HIV Services through Integration | June 2015 | Jackie* had been feeling sick off and on for three to four months. The 32-year-old mother of three was known as the Iron Lady in her community in Monrovia, Liberia due to her energetic nature. But lately she did not have the energy she used to and was experiencing symptoms that concerned her. She described her symptoms to a health worker from an Afro-Medical Community Health and Welfare Service (ACHWS) clinic visiting her community during an outreach exercise. More
World Vision Helps Families Space Pregnancies for Child Survival | August 2015 | The Christian humanitarian organization World Vision began integrating healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies (family planning) into its maternal and child health programs after analyzing evidence showing the link between pregnancy spacing and child survival. In this interview, Adrienne Allison, MPH, Senior Technical Advisor for Family Planning and Reproductive Health at World Vision explains what integration means and the compelling evidence that led the organization to make that change.
Video Series: Family Planning Integration and Faith Leader Involvement
This series of brief videos includes interviews with Dr. Tonny Tumwesigye, Executive Director of the Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau and Dr. Mwai Makoka, Executive Director of the Christian Health Association of Malawi. In the interviews, they discuss how their organizations integrate family planning with other health services and involve faith leaders in family planning education and promotion.
Integration of Family Planning with Immunization and Other Health Services | Interview with Dr. Tumwesigye and Dr. Makoka (2:10 minutes)
Support Among Religious Leaders for Family Planning in Malawi | Interview with Dr. Makoka (1:34 minutes)
Involving Religious Leaders in Promoting Health Services in Uganda | Interview with Dr. Tumwesigye (1:59 minutes)
Religious Leaders as Family Planning Champions in Uganda | Interview with Dr. Tumwesigye (2:16 minutes)
Training Religious Leaders on Family Planning in Uganda | Interview with Dr. Tumwesigye (1:15 minutes)
Baptist Organization Integrates Family Planning Services with Cancer Screening | December 2014 | If Mardea* had not had the convenience of cancer screening and family planning services available in her rural community in Cameroon, her story is likely to be very different. Fortunately, Mardea’s cancer was detected during screening at a mobile clinic operated by the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services.
Religious Leaders as Family Planning Advocates in Uganda | March 2014 | Hearing a positive message about contraception from a religious leader may be surprising, but according to Dr. Tonny Tumwesigye of the Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau (UPMB), it should not be. “Biblically speaking, family planning is supported because it helps provide life in its fullest,” said Dr. Tumwesigye, who serves as executive director of the network of 278 Protestant church-affiliated health facilities.
Family Planning in Zambia:A Christian Perspective – An Interview with Karen Sichinga of the Churches Health Association of Zambia
Family Planning in Zimbabwe: An Interview with Vuyelwa Tenjiwe Sidile-Chitimbireof the Zimbabwe Association of Church-related Hospitals
Christians and Family Planning: An Interview with Dr. Daniel Gobgab of the Christian Health Association of Nigeria | November 2013
Why So Many Women in South Sudan Die Young | July 2013 | There are a number of factors keeping women in South Sudan from planning pregnancies at times that would be optimal for their health, a critical strategy in reducing maternal deaths.
Family Planning Is Critical to Church Role in Health Care | August 2012 | The members of the Christian Health Association of Kenya provide health care, including helping families safely space the births of their children. Faith-based organizations provide roughly 30 percent of all health care in Kenya, making them a crucial part of meeting the population’s need for care.
Dr. Ron Mataya, originally from Malawi of the University of Malawi, College of Medicine and Loma Linda University (California) discusses why family planning is so important to the health of women and children in developing nations.