By Juliet Lukwago
The Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau (UCMB) on Tuesday officially launched the natural family planning (NFP) curriculum.
The NFP curriculum is a product of the UCMB technical arm of Uganda Episcopal Conference that deals with health matters including policies and practices, as carried out the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) health services.
Bishop of Fort-Portal Diocese, Robert Muhiirwa, who is also the chairman of the health commission of the Episcopal Conference also lunched a 204-page NFP service provider’s manual produced by the UCMB at Sharing Hall, Nsambya at a general meeting of all the Catholic medical workers.
The occasion whose theme was “moving towards total quality management; remaining relevant and competitive” also featured, among VIPs, the Vicar General of Kampala Archdiocese, Msgr Charles Kasibante, Dr Sarah Byakika, Assistant Commissioner Quality Insurance in Ministry of Health and many others.
Sister Catherine Nakiboneka of UCMB gives a speech at the general meeting of all the Catholic medical workers.
Muhiirwa urged the Catholic medical workers to dedicate their services to the people of Uganda with a lot of sacrifice to the poor as the majority of the health facilities are among the rural poor.
“We are called to make visible the healing hands of Jesus through our work. If we do our work well the people we serve see the face of Jesus in it and the health facility becomes a place for spreading the good news the work of God. That is evangelisation in the healthcare setting,” Muhiirwa said.
He also urged the medical workers to pay special attention to the elderly among whom the diseases of dementia or Parkinsonism are mistaken in the in the community as madness or witchcraft, which in the health facilities are equally often misdiagnosed and given inappropriate treatment.
“I suggest that we start by understanding what the burden of this problem is in our facilities and also increase our knowledge and ability to deal with it. In any case, all of us hoping to reach old age,” he urged.
He reminded the health workers of the big contribution they have to make to the country as the church and together with other religious institutions as the private-not-for-profit (PNFP) health providers.
This is through the many health facilities we have, the management and coordination structures and even the supply chain system, the Joint Medical Store (JMS).
He noted that PNFP subsector has supported the health sector to remain alive for many years especially in times of conflict. Over the years we have built structure and systems.
“It is on this basis that many partners are finding it possible to work with us to extend very important and life-saving services to the people of Uganda. I thank the Government and all the other partners who have given great support of the years,” he said.
Dr Sam Orochi Orach, the executive secretary of UCMB, said that NFP for a healthy home is a course about helping couples effectively applying natural methods for achieving or postponing pregnancy.
The success of NFP methods rely on the extent to which couples are purposefully exposed to the current available NFP methods, their understanding of mechanism of action of these methods and their ability top comply with the requirement for achieving expectation of the couples.
“The NFP methods being considered in these manual methods such as billing’s ovulation, basal body temperature, calendar and the symptom thermal. Two important characteristics about application of NFP are abstinence, trust and self-esteem among couple,” he said.
He said that the Natural Family Planning for healthy home, affectively application of NFP methods depends to a great extent on intimate love relationship of a couple. Such a couple centers every step and development on the guidance of the Lord.
The ingredients that make this happen include knowledge, patience, self-trust, commitment to choices as a couple.
“Natural Family Planning is general term for certain methods that are based on the observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle, this methods are used to both achieve as well as avoid pregnancy.” Orachi said.