Family planning is a method adopted by a couple to control the number of children they can adequately cater for and the right time to have them. Family planning allows people to attain desired number of children and determine the spacing of pregnancies.
METHODS OF FAMILY PLANNING
- Calendar method or rhythm method: here women use calendar to predict their ovulation period based on the duration of previous menstrual cycle.
- withdrawal method(coitus interruptus): This is the most common traditional method ,the man withdraws his penis from his partner’s vagina and ejaculates outside the vagina.
- Abstinence from sex.
- Implants: small flexible rods and capsules containing progesterone hormone only are placed under the skin of the upper arm. The progesterone thickens cervical mucous and prevents fertilization.
- Combined injectable contraceptive: injections containing estrogen and progesterone are injected into the muscle monthly to prevent ovulation.
- Intrauterine device(IUD): small flexible plastic containing copper sleeves (copper components destroy the sperm) or wire is inserted into the uterus.
FAMILY PLANNING AS A REMEDIAL.
Very often ,the only time active effort is being made towards family planning, is when there is need for population control in a particular geographical area. This circumstantial consideration given to family planning has led to the unrecognition of its other benefits. Family planning serves as remedy to many problems which may include:
1. PREVENTS PREGNANCY RELATED HEALTH RISK : with family planning, chances of pregnancy complications would reduce and allow for better management if and when they occur.
2. PROVIDES PROTECTION AGAINST STIs (sexually transmitted diseases): the use of contraceptives by couples not only prevent unwanted pregnancies but, also lowers the risk of STIs.
3. ALLEVIATES POVERTY AND HUNGER: family planning helps to attain the number of children that can adequately be taken care of. Hence, every household would be able to cater for the basic need of Its members according to their financial capabilities.
4. POPULATION CONTROL: family planning ensures that the number of people living in a particular geographical area do not exceed the available resources.
5. Family planning reduces the occurrence of adolescent pregnancies.
6. Family planning equips people with the right knowledge needed to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health.
CHALLENGES OF FAMILY PLANNING
1. Many people remain unaware about family planning, its facts and benefits.
2. In most areas, family planning is met with religious and/or cultural reluctance.
3. Limited method choices and poor counselling.
4. Unmet need for contraceptives in some parts of the country.
POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS TO CHALLENGES OF FAMILY PLANNING
1. Enlightenment about family planning; including it as a topic in schools’ scheme of work, use of media to create awareness, and counselling by trained health personnel.
2. Innovation of new family planning method tailored to culture and religion.
3. Implementation of new policy/revision of old policy for family planning by the government.
4. Increase in the number of health personnels equipped with knowledge of various methods of family planning.
Definitively, to ensure that family planning is regarded as an essential to a healthy family lifestyle,it is important to emphasize all of its benefits with matching effort.
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