Family planning can be quite an inconvenient matter at the household level and more so for local governments.
So how exactly can local government units (LGUs) attain the desired family size among the poor and marginalized? The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) lays the tips.
DILG Officer-in-Charge Catalino S. Cuy has recently released, through a memo, practicable guidelines in accelerating and sustaining the reduction of unmet need for modern family planning methods.
But at the outset he clarifies that desired family size is based on the number of children agreed by a couple based on informed choice.
Local governments can help manage the population in their areas through informed citizens, especially the less privileged, about modern family planning, says Cuy.
Couples and individuals with unmet need are those who are fertile and sexually active, and report not wanting any more children or wanting to delay the next pregnancy but are not using any modern method of contraception, whether natural and artificial methods.
This includes couples and individuals who desire to shift from traditional method to modern family planning.
In view of this situation, Cuy directed all provincial governors, city and municipal mayors, and punong barangays to ensure compliance to the provisions of laws by doing activities to get community-based demand generation on modern family planning service.
This can be particularly done in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas and urban poor communities, he explains.
Local governments, he says, ought to take lead in mapping areas to locate couples and individuals with unmet need for modern family planning and, in so doing, ensure the provision of quality modern family planning information and services.
The mapping can be done by identifying the barangays where the poorest households are located by coordinating with local Social Welfare and Development Offices and concerned regional offices of the Department of Social Welfare and Development for the updated LISTAHAN on poor families.
According to Cuy, LGUs may determine the number of barangay health workers and community volunteers to be deployed to conduct house-to-house visits for the identification of clients with unmet need for modern family planning.
To ensure a support mechanism, LGUs can establish community volunteers who will be given minimum allowance and transportation reimbursement by the LGU to ensure that all clients with unmet needs have been reached and referred to appropriate facilities for services.
LGUs may also request support from the Department of Health (DOH) to conduct an intensified door-to-door campaign.
What else can be done?
The DILG further urges LGUs to upgrade the capacities of provincial or city hospitals as referral facility for the provision of all modern family planning methods.
Cuy also encourages all LGU hospital managements to do a recording and reporting system using the DOH operational guide in family planning performance.
He emphasizes the need to allocate local funds necessary for ensuring universal access to reproductive health care services, including demand generation for family planning and family training, commodities and services and other medical supplies.
Moreover, he rallies LGUs to facilitate PhilHealth accreditation of healthcare providers for modern family planning.
He mentions that LGUs can also engage, collaborate, and partner with civil society organization (CSOs) and the private sector in the provision of modern family planning services in their respective localities.
LGUs can create Provincial Implementation Team, City Implementation Team, or Municipal Implementation Team that should be functional and are overseeing smooth enactment and coordination for modern family planning, he says.
Source: Department of the Interior and Local Government