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The promotion of the lactational amenorrhea method and child spacing through breastfeeding advocates, Contract No. OR-HO-001.
[Unpublished] . vii, 44 p. (HON-05)In Honduras, a decreasing prevalence of exclusive breast feeding, with over 50% of infants given supplemental liquids during the first 30 days, was causing health risks for the infants and pregnancy risks for the mothers (with 49% at risk within a year of giving birth). Therefore, La Leche League Honduras (LLLH) conducted an operations research study in the Las Palmas neighborhoods of San Pedro Sula to evaluate whether the combination of medical personnel and mother support groups trained in lactation and the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM) for child spacing would increase prevalence and duration of exclusive breast feeding, amenorrhea, and the reported use of LAM at 6 months postpartum over that found in a community served only by trained medical personnel. This project received financing in the amount of US $20,250 from Georgetown University and technical assistance from the Population Council. Specific objectives were to train at least 50 physicians, provide updated information to at least 50 nurses through a workshop, train and certify at least 36 community mothers to serve as breastfeeding advocates (BAs) with specific information on LAM and the ability to make referrals to complementary family planning (FP) services, and initiate at least 6 mother support groups which would meet monthly throughout the year-long study period of 1991. A nonequivalent pre/post-test design was used with the experimental group receiving BA training and support groups and both the control and experimental groups receiving identical training of medical staff. A July 1990 survey of the 6,794 households in the project area revealed 1083 mothers of babies less than a year old and 630 pregnant women. 848 women from this group were interviewed at baseline and 922 at endline to determine socioeconomic status, health system affiliation, reproductive history, breastfeeding and infant feeding practices, contraceptive use, and LAM knowledge and attitudes. Focus groups were held after 3 months of service delivery for qualitative evaluation, interviews were conducted, and 4 mother support groups were observed. BAs were given record-keeping forms, and referral stubs were collected. This report described the implementation of project activities and the impact of the intervention in great detail. The results suggest that training health professionals was partially successful in improving breastfeeding practices and that use of LAs was effective in promoting exclusive breast feeding and use of compatible FP methods and increasing LAM knowledge. However, analysis of women using LAM as a FP method revealed that only 6.5% correctly met all criteria. Lessons learned from this evaluation are cited and the following suggestions are made for further research: 1) develop materials to teach LAM to low-literacy women; 2) examine the role of provider bias and influence of exclusive breast feeding prevalence on LAM acceptance; 3) discover the relative effectiveness of LAM promotion by LLLH vs. FP agencies; 4) test the effectiveness of strategies which segment a target population for LAM education; and 5) determine whether LAM leads to subsequent use of other FP methods.
BMJ. British Medical Journal. 1993 Sep 18; 307(6906):723-6.The Catholic Church approves the use of natural family planning (NFP) methods. Many people think only of the rhythm method when they hear NFP so they perceive NFP methods to be unreliable, unacceptable, and ineffective. They interpret the Catholic Church's approval of these methods as its opposition to birth control. The Billings or cervical mucus method is quite reliable and effective. Rising estrogen levels coincide with increased secretion of cervical mucus, which during ovulation is relatively thin and contains glycoprotein fibrils in a micelle like structure aiding sperm migration. Ultrasonography confirms that the day of most abundant secretion of fertile-type eggs white mucus is the day of ovulation. Once progesterone begins to be secreted, cervical mucus becomes thick and rubbery and acts like a plug in the cervix. Other symptoms associated with ovulation include periovulatory pain and postovulatory rise in basal body temperature. A WHO study of 869 fertile women from Australia, India, Ireland, the Philippines, and El Salvador found 93% could accurately interpret the ovulatory mucus pattern, regardless of education and culture. The probability of pregnancy among women using the cervical mucus method and having intercourse outside the fertile period was .004. The probability of conception increased the closer couples were to the fertile period when they had intercourse (.546 on -3 to -1 peak day and .667 on peak day 0), regardless of education and culture. The failure rate of NFP among mainly poor women in Calcutta, India, equal that of the combined oral contraceptive (0.2/100 women users yearly). Poverty was the motivating factor. NFP costs nothing, is effective (particularly in poverty stricken areas), has no side effects, and grants couples considerable power to control their fertility, indicating the NFP may be the preferred family planning method in developing countries. Prejudices about NFP should be dropped and worldwide dissemination of NFP information should occur.
Switching back: an experimental intervention of family planning client remotivation and clinic staff retraining: impact upon reacceptance and continuity.
In: African research studies in population information, education and communication, compiled and edited by Tony Johnston, Aart de Zeeuw, and Waithira Gikonyo. Nairobi, Kenya, United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA], 1991. 73-82.In 1990, the Mauritius Family Planning Association presented educational sessions for former clients allowing them to meet f amily planning personnel and other women with similar experiences. It used audiovisual aids to discuss use of modern contraceptives and the advantage of scientific family planning, to dispel myths and rumors, and to explain how different methods could be used to meet their and partners' needs. At the same time, 10 service providers from the experimental clinic underwent a 6 week sensitization and retraining program emphasizing organization for efficiency, counseling skills, and skills to build client self esteem. Researchers observed both the control and experimental clinic for 9 months in 1991. 36 remotivated clients (73% return rate) and 29 mainly former clients who did not attend a session reaccepted a contraceptive method at the experimental clinic. As for the control clinic, 24 remotivated clinics (46% return rate) and 7 mainly former clients reaccepted a method. Both clinics' staff said that the extra clients returned because the 93 remotivated clients recommended or referred them directly to the clinics. The 2 interventions therefore had a spread effect. The experimental clinic did have a much better retention rate than the control clinic (46 client vs. 28 clients), however. Further it had higher continuity rates throughout the study period. At the end of the study, the continuity rate was 93.8 for the experimental clinic and 53.8 for the control clinic. The researchers concluded that the improved clinic services of the experimental clinic due to staff retraining in skills and attentiveness were responsible for the superior retention record and rates of return and continuity. Thus IEC programs that attend to former and potential clients' needs and develop skills and attentiveness of providers improve acceptor and continuity rates.