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    NFP internationally: an overview.

    Lanctot CA

    In: Ireland. Dept. of Health, World Health Organization [WHO]. International Seminar on Natural Methods of Family Planning, Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin, Ireland, October 8-9, 1979. [Dublin, Ireland, Dept. of Health, 1979]. 166-76.

    This paper summarizes the international development of National Family Planning (NFP) over the last 25 years in view of: 1) recent developments, 2) status of NFP in various countries, 3) popularity of NFP in terms of use, effectiveness, and acceptibility, and 4) the potential of NFP. 3 phases are outlined: 1) Clinical phase before 1955 when basic discoveries in reproductive physiology were achieved, the rhythm method was popularized, and experiments for measuring basal body temperature (BBT) were developed; 2) pioneer phase (1955-70) when NFP centers developed empirical tests of monitoring techniques, the Billings or ovulation method (OM) was developed, and sympto-thermal methods became popular; 3) popularization phase (1970-present) when NFP methods were popularized. Current research includes clinical trials for effectiveness, education, NFP instruction, and basic research into operating procedures and psychosocial factors of NFP. Major programs include the World Organization of the Ovulation Method by Billings (WOOMB), a program devoted to OM methods of NFP, and the International Federation for Family Life Promotion (IFFLP), a program devoted to the development of natural associations of NFP interests. IFFLP now has members in over 70 countries (in Africa, Asia, Australia, North America, Central and South America, and Europe). IFFLP devotes itself to knowledge or technology transfer projects in centers which hold workshops and work towards developing national organizations worldwide. 80-90% of the NFP programs are Catholic inspired although more than 50% of the users of NFP are non-Catholic. The popularity of NFP has been limited, if not declining, in some countries, although 50% of the family planning population in Japan practice the Ogino method of NFP. This is because of the advances in other contraceptive devices and the limits of NFP in terms of effectiveness and perceptions about the method. Recent developments in NFP suggest that: 1) effectiveness is 1-5 conceptions/100 women, 2) education and instruction may reduce the risk, 3) side effects of other contraceptive techniques are increasingly found to be damaging, and 4) behavioral insights into NFP is increasing because of ecological, health, and other concerns. The potential of NFP programs is compared to the natural childbirth movement in maternity care. Development of the potential is related to education, instruction, and perceptions about the value of NFP. Measures need to be taken to develop culturally appropriate out-reach programs, quality standards for NFP teachers, standardized service records, follow-up guidelines, health referrals, and administrative frameworks.
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