The NFP2015 World Congress was held in Milan in the Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca (University of Milano-Bicocca) from 11-14 June 2015. About 500 participants attended with representatives from all five continents, with Speakers from Belgium, Chile, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Macedonia, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, USA.
Digital Technology – Apps for use in NFP
There were two presentations on the use of Apps in natural family planning and fertility awareness, one by Lorenzo Siva from Italy and one by H. Wettstein, Lully, Switzerland.
Both speakers emphasised the importance of the use of Apps in NFP, as according to predictions there will be two billion smartphones worldwide in 2016 and methods have to adapt to modern technology. Mr Siva stated that there are many NFP and Fertility Awareness Apps available on the internet but most are of limited value and some of those less-useful Apps have been downloaded by a million viewers. Some apps aim to replace traditional teaching and methods, while others merely store data without interpreting it.
The title of Mr Wettstein’s talk was, ‘When Smartphones are used for birth regulation. A comparison study of 4 symptothermal apps in 2013 and 2014’. He named the following four Smartphone Apps which he reviewed:
- mynfp.de (German) is in the German language
- sympto.org (Swiss) is in English and is produced in Lully, Switzerland.
- CycleProGo.com (Couple to Couple League, USA) is in English
- whimsicallily.com (Lily Pro Produced by Whimsical Inc, California) is in English
Mr Wettstein considered that only two of these apps were useful for the symptothermal method of NFP, in that they were as good at identifying the fertile window as an experienced user of manual, sympto-thermal NFP would be. These are www.mynfp.de and www.sympto.org.
The extensive, technical review is available on the Swiss NFP website: – “SymptoTherm Foundation, Lully VD, Switzerland, sympto.org , November 2014. Symptothermal Contraception with Smartphone Apps. The comparison study of 2013 continued in 2014 Margaux DUCHAMP, Swiss Federal Polytechnic Institute Lausanne, and Andreea LOTREA, University of Bucharest, Business School. Editorial: Harri WETTSTEIN, Secretary of, and Gina KRETSCHMANN, sympto Canada.”
Under the title, ‘European Network to verify the qualification of the NFP Trainers’, the former President of the IEEF, Dr Michele Barbato who is an Obstetrician in Milan, spoke on the Education Policy of the IEEF which aims to verify the qualification levels of NFP Teachers in Europe.
He stated that in 1980, NFP was used by 20% of couples for fertility regulation and by 2004 the number of NFP users had decreased to 4%.
The IEEF Education program set up the San Benedetto Project in which “couples renew their understanding of natural family planning in light of the theology of the body and the theology of love.” Their aim is to set up a Masters in Fertility in Conjugal Sexuality run by the John Paul II Institute, Catholic University of Sacre Coeur, IEEF and FAAF to offer NFP teachers a university degree and to provide the role of NFP teacher with a relevant academic standing.
The IEEF Education Program also set up the FEDRA Project. The IEEF appointed a a team from different European countries to develop and prepare NFP Teaching and Training packages and tools for teachers and families, which is known as the ‘FEDRA Project’. This team commenced work in 2011 and at this 2015NFP Congress the first edition of their teaching materials was presented by Sigrun Ohme-Peters as outlined below.
FEDRA Project: Teaching Materials Now Available
Sigrun Ohme-Peters from Germany was the co-ordinator of the FEDRA Project. The FEDRA Project was started in 2011 the aim of which is to provide standard teaching materials, (Manual /Workbook) in 7 languages.
Sigrun presented the first printed edition of the IEEF Manual/ Workbook in English and German at the Congress, a work which had contributions from an international team chaired by Sigrun. She stated that the FEDRA Project is near completion, only the chapter on Anthropology was incomplete but that otherwise the Manual was complete. Further translations are planned.
The printed Manual, a textbook of 300 pages, outlines the scientific basis of natural family planning and is the same in all languages.
The Workbook covers the Method of NFP used and this will vary depending on the NFP Method used in that particular Country. The Workbook has Teaching charts to explain the method used and also Exercise charts and Homework tests to assess learning. The printed Workbook presented at the Congress outlines the Symptothermal Method of NFP (Rötzer Method) which is used by PERLE in Germany.
Congratulations are due to Sigrun and the FEDRA team for their excellent work.