Natural Family Planning: Nature's Way - God's Way

26. NFP on the Move: Spotlight Parade

1. CENAPLANF in Montevideo

Father Pedro Richards, C.P. who has been active in NFP work in Latin America since 1948, reports that teachers are now being trained for parishes and schools at the Centro Nacional de Planificacion Natural de La Familia (CENAPLANF) in Montevideo, Uruguay. Bishops send capable teachers for seminars to the Center, and thus courses in the O.M. method of NFP are being intensified in parishes and schools of the country.

WOOMB INTERNATIONAL, recognizing the activities of CENAPLANF. In various countries of Latin America, made this its representative, with an International Board. CENAPLANF is teaching the O.M. in nine countries, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Venezuela, and Brazil.

Courses given at CENAPLANF are always of an integrated nature, including: (1) LOVE IN FAMILY LIFE in its physical, psychological and spiritual aspects; (2) SOCIAL DUTIES of the parents as well as the children, toward the making of a BETTER WORLD.

The work was begun in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1948, when the Ogino- Knaus method was promoted through the Movimiento Familiar Christiano; teacher couples promoted the method in city parishes as well as in the country. From 1955 yearly trips through 19 countries of Latin America were made to teach the method. The temperature method was included in the teaching somewhat later, and about 60,000 couples were orientated. In 1967 a Center was established in Montevideo, which flourished and developed into the Institute of today which teaches family sciences on a university level. In 1972 the switch over was made from the Temperature Method to the Ovulation Method.

A giant step forward was made at PUEBLA in January 1979 when the Latin American Bishops passed the resolution to promote the existence of centers to teach NFP:

611. . . . We must promote the existence of centers where people will be taught scientifically the natural methods of birth control by qualified personnel (Conclusions of the Third General Conference of Latin American Bishops.)

Communications From Cenaplanf

"The ovulation Method is a challenge. Not only does a couple have to learn how their bodies function, they also have to study the pattern of mucus. secretions and practice restraint during the fertile periods. This requires some sacrifice. However, most people are willing and able to meet this challenge."

"An often reported outcome of use of the Ovulation Method is a more meaningful relationship and the improvement of communication between husband and wife. The sharing of the intimate knowledge of the woman's menstrual cycle opens the door for better communication in other areas."

"An observer in Central America related that just as the artificial methods have secondary harmful effects, the natural methods have secondary beneficial effects, so much so, that child spacing becomes a secondary effect. The primary effect that he has seen is how it unites the couple."

2. From India

Father Joseph A. Menezes, S.J. writes that the Ovulation Method is slowly but surely picking up in India and the initial results are very encouraging:

"Even our simple rural women with no education are able to follow the OM successfully! Further, in two places we have found to our surprise, that they are able to do so without charting the mucus pattern! But of course they are carefully taught by NFP teachers who visit the couples in their own homes. Here in Delhi there are about 2,000 women using it for nearly two years and there had been only five surprise pregnancies."

Father Menezes is Head, Department of Responsible Parenthood, The Catholic Hospital Association of India. MISEREOR has made a grant to get the teaching started and organized.

Sister Catherine Bernard, M.D., Director of the Tamil Nadu Family Life Center in Tiruchirapalli, South India, reports on a study made of 6,165 acceptor couples of the OM, during July 1978 to December 1979 ' There were only 38 pregnancies, all of them user-related. [Pearl Index 0.4. This is a fantastic success rate of 99.6 percent.]

Father E. Vincent Gallagher, S.J writes from the Natural Family Planning Training Programme Association at Patna, Bihar how they give the initial instruction. It is simply this:

Once a woman becomes an acceptor, she is visited once a week for six weeks. During these weekly visits more instructions are given. Fr. Gallagher made a study in the Hindi speaking region of north India for the 12 months ending December 31, 1979. Of all the 2,888 couples studied, 2,748 (95.2%) used the NFP method to avoid pregnancy; 140 wanted to achieve pregnancy through the NFP method. The success rate for the 2,748 couples who used the method to avoid pregnancy was 98.8%, [33 pregnancies] and the failure rate was 1.2%. Out of the 140 who wanted to achieve pregnancy, 9 (6.4%) succeeded in becoming pregnant. The continuation rate comes to 96%. Father Gallagher concludes with some advice from a veteran of the field:

"Marking charts was found often to be a hindrance. Hence, whenever marking charts is not a hindrance, charting should be encouraged. But where charting is a problem, such of the NFP users should be allowed to use the method without marking charts."

"There has been too much paper work for the NFP users, teachers, coordinators and directors. The paper work should be reduced by encouraging the NFP personnel to work out a simple way of keeping their records and making their reports so that more time will be available for covering more eligible people to become users of NFP method."A study by Dr. Ajay K, Gosh and associates, National Medical College, Calcutta, India, made with the help of the Missionaries of Charity with the permission of Mother Teresa extended over two years, between 1978 and 1980. Of 700 women approached, 525 accepted. The pregnancy rate in the control group of 500 women exposed to the chance of pregnancy was 31.7 percent. There was no pregnancy in the study group of women following the sympto-thermal method, a success rate of 100%. However, 28 women dropped out of the study due to some personal reasons, giving a discontinuance rate of only 5.3 percent.

Note of Coordinator: When we see these records we begin to wonder what is holding us back, and why have we waited so long. This reminds me of a letter from a person who recently traveled to Mainland China. He lectured to a group of medical personnel there about the Billings Method of Natural Family Planning. He writes: "They were amazed and happy to know it, and they hope that some one can give this teaching more systematically throughout the large cities of China. "

I ask you simply: Who will do it? NFP is on the move in many places, but in other places pioneers are needed to open the frontier. The initial efforts need funding and will perhaps require much record keeping and paper work. But once NFP becomes known more widely, it can move on its own momentum.

by Pedro Richard and Coordinator

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