Progress is made through partnership and collaboration, and IMA World Health is proud to have contributed to the new report, Faith Matters: International Family Planning from a Christian Perspective.
Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH) released the report in July as a followup to a December 2014 technical meeting of the same name, co-hosted by CCIH, Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO), the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Advancing Partners & Communities (APC) project, and the United Nation Foundation’s (UNF) Universal Access Project (UAP).
Forty-eight representatives from 26 international health organizations, various Christian denominations, and USAID attended the meeting to share best practices and resources relating to faith and family planning.
CCIH’s Definition of Family Planning
Enabling couples to determine the number and timing of pregnancies, including the voluntary use of methods for preventing pregnancy – not including abortion – that are harmonious with their values and beliefs.
Based on information gathered from the meeting, the Faith Matters report offers effective family planning messaging for all groups of people within a Christian community, from teachers and religious leaders to married couples and their extended families.
IMA World Health contributed information from the Christian Sermon Guide to Save the Lives of Mothers and Newborns: A Toolkit for Religious Leaders (2009), which was developed to help pastors guide their congregants through safe and healthy practices that save mother and infant lives by addressing common issues through the context of sermons and Biblical citations.
The evidence is clear that using family planning to space and limit births improves the health of mothers and children, and the consensus among meeting attendees was that family planning programs must stress voluntary and informed decision making. Programs should be culturally appropriate, developed with strong collaboration from local communities, respect their beliefs, and support the potential for all community members to live an abundant life.