Traditional method of birth spacing through the use of the menstrual cycle is gaining grounds in rural areas in parts of Upper East Region of Ghana and reducing the patronage of modern family planning methods. This is partly due to religious and cultural beliefs as well as suspicious side effective.
This situation has led to a rapid repeat birth among couples with over 68 per cent of women reporting birth spacing of less than twenty four months between their youngest child and the next child in northern Ghana. The effects of this large family size is putting pressure on the limited resources and an increase in mal nutrition among children.
To curb the situation, the Catholics Relief Services in collaboration with its partners rolled out a project called the Strengthening of Marriages and Relationship Through Communications and Planning Among Couples (SMART couple). The program trained couples on better ways to improve communications and adopting a joint decision making behaviours.
In addition, it also increased availability, accessibility and awareness of couple friendly, culturally appropriate Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) services to about 3000 couples within a one and half year period in the Upper East Region.
As part of the program, traditional method of family planning was introduced through the use of the menstrual cycle, lactational Amenorrhea method among couples, which has proven to be effective.
Mohammed Faiza a mother of five shared her experience in using modern family method and the natural birth spacing method.
“I used to use the modern contraceptives and I get a lot of challenges, my menses were irregular, my husband too didn’t like it. But with the introduction of the natural birth spacing I don’t get such complications.”
Her husband Salisu Mohammed said he never approved modern family planning for his wife.
“Family planning is important in our lives as Moslems as it gives space for women to rest. But for the scientific method which you have to introduce chemicals in your system is not the best and I don’t approve of that for my wife. With the natural birth method, it comes with no complications, sometimes the women is not able to conceive after using those contraceptives. the natural method does not only prevent child birth but also to conceive when the couples meet at the right time of the month.”
The Health Program Manager for the Catholic Relief services, (CRS) Mohammed Ali, explained the programme provided platforms for healthy discussions among couples.
“Through that their relationships have been built and couples now feel comfortable to sit together, plan and exchange ideas and take decisions to ensure the well being of their children. We belief that peace within communities should start from the bedroom,” he added.
He noted that the program would be extended to ten more districts.
By Zubaida Ismail |TV3| 3news.com