MANILA, Philippines – Citing a study that Filipinos are naturally shy to talk about sex and other things considered taboo, the Department of Health (DOH) is preparing an interactive information campaign to educate the public about family planning.
“We are looking at non-traditional materials like interactive comics, text messaging and videoke to be able to communicate to couples and teach them about family planning,” said Nilo Yacat, media and communication adviser of HealthPro, a joint program of the DOH and USAID.
Yacat said the survey they conducted among Filipino couples showed that music is one way of encouraging Filipinos to talk about sex and family planning. “Based on our survey, most Filipinos are interested to use contraceptives, however, they are too shy to discuss with other people, even health providers,” Yacat said. “But we have also found out that through music and other communication medium we would be able to let them talk about things which are considered taboo like sex and family planning.”
Production on the family planning videos will start soon. The repertoire will include the songs “Let’s Wait a While” by Janet Jackson and “Mama” of Spice Girls. The videos would be distributed to married couples by September. The videos will be first used in the mobile health caravan that will be going around different barangays nationwide.
Yesterday, the DOH also launched a new communication strategy to encourage more Filipino couples to practice family planning. Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral said the DOH would be using pre-tested materials to promote contraceptive use among men and women. “This time the DOH is no longer focusing on the different methods of contraceptives, but on the benefits of practicing family planning,” she said. Cabral said the country’s population growth is declining because more women are undergoing abortion.
“The number of Filipino women resorting to abortion rose to as high as 800,000 annually because of the unmet need for family planning,” she said. She expressed confidence that the new family planning campaign would enable Filipino couples to make intelligent choices in family planning. “The DOH is not imposing, we are just giving Filipino couples the information they need to make intelligent and right decisions,” she said.
By Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star)