The Philippines Department of Health launched a telephone hotline last Friday to respond to questions about family planning, sexual health and relationship issues. The “FamPlan Hotline” will be staffed by two psychologists and two midwives ready to answer questions on a variety of health issues, according to DeepikaGlobal.com, including topics considered taboo in the predominantly Catholic county, such as pre-marital sex and sexually transmitted diseases. Citizens can contact the hotline via telephone, email, or text message, reports Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report.
Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit told the Manila Standard that the hotline is in response to “some allegations that the government is just promoting natural family planning methods.” The hotline will distribute information based on four tenets of the government’s family planning policy: informed choice, responsible parenthood, respect for life and birth spacing. Lourdes Paulino, a family health specialist with the Department of Health, told DeepikaGlobal.com that the hotline staff have been trained to give information without imposing opinions on callers.
The country’s high population growth, one of the highest in Asia at 2.36 percent annually, has been hampering economic development and progress. Efforts to control the Philippine population have been thwarted in the past by the Catholic Church’s opposition to family planning, reports DeepikaGlobal.com.