Bontoc, Mountain Province – There is a rapid increase of couples in the province practicing different methods of family planning this first quarter of 2015 compared to last year.
Data from the Provincial Health Office (PHO) shows that there are 551 new acceptors of family planning methods for the first quarter of 2015 compared to a total of 122 last year. Out of the 551 new acceptors, Bauko listed the highest number with 172 followed by Bontoc with 140. Sadanga listed 97, 63 in Natonin, 24 in Barlig, 21 in Paracelis, 15 in Sagada, eight in Sabangan, six in Tadian, and five in Besao.
According to Family Planning Coordinator Dolores Te-elan of the PHO, 260 of the new acceptors are using the Natural Family Planning – Lactational Amenorrhea Method (NFP- LAM), 85 are practicing the NFP- Cervical Mucos Method, 54 are taking in pills, 16 are using condom, and three are following the Standard Days Method. In addition, 40 underwent Bilateral Tubal Ligation (BTL), 21 opted for the implant which is the depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), 11 used the Intra Uterine Device (IUD), 60 chose injectable, and one underwent vasectomy.
Te-elan attributed the awareness and acceptance of couples on family planning to the continuous information education campaign (IEC) conducted by the health workers from the provincial level down to the barangay. She relayed that their office, in partnership with the Department of Health – Cordillera Administrative Region (DOH-CAR), different Rural Health Units (RHUs), other health facilities in the province, and Population Commission in the regional to the municipal level are working together in the information dissemination about family planning thru radio guesting, printing and distributing of reading materials, and establishing linkages to civic society organizations (CSOs).
Also, supplies used in artificial planning methods were funded by the DOH – National Office, provincial government and Municipal Local Government Units (MLGUs) to be given free to couples. These include oral contraceptives, IUD, DMPA, condoms, and Diaphragms.
With this, Te-elan advised couples to go to the nearest health facility in their barangay or municipality to avail of the artificial planning methods except for BTL and vasectomy that are only offered at the hospitals in the province.
Te-elan said that family planning enables couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children with informed choice and access to safe and effective family planning methods.
She explained that family planning is important for the health of the mother as it will give her ample time to recover her strength after giving birth, prevent high risk pregnancy, and prepare her for the responsibilities of motherhood. Family planning is also important for the health of the new born child and the entire family. It is because parents will have sufficient time for each of their children, couples will have time for each other, and family will have time to socialize.
The DOH anchored family planning into the principles of Responsible Parenthood, Respect for Life, Birth Spacing, and Informed Choice. Responsible Parenthood means that each family has the right and duty to determine the desired number of children they might have and when they might have them. Beyond responsible parenthood is Responsible parenting which is the proper upbringing and education of children so that they grow up to be upright, productive and civic-minded citizens. Under the 1987 Philippine Constitution, it states the government protects the sanctity of life. The DOH corrected the notion that using Family Planning methods is not considered an abortion. Birth Spacing refers to interval between pregnancies which is ideally three years. It enables women to recover their health, improves women’s potential to be more productive and to realize their personal aspirations and gives them more time to care for their children and spouse. Informed Choice is upholding and ensuring the rights of couples to determine the number and spacing of their children according to their life’s aspirations and reminding couples that planning size of their families have a direct bearing on the quality of their children’s and their own lives.
Family Planning Month which is observed every month of August, aims to raise awareness on the importance of the attainment of a better quality of life for mothers, fathers, children, and the family as a whole. // By Alpine L. Killa