Modern Contraceptives Use and Urban Cohesion: A Look into subconscious connectivity among industrial workers in Cagayan De Oro

Social cohesion is described by Colleta et al (2001:2) as "the glue that bonds society together, promoting the common good". It can also "bridge ethnic and religious groups [and] vertical linkages in which state and market institutions' interaction with communities and peoples... further cement the bond of a society...." This description may also apply to "urban cohesion" as a concept. Moreover, social or urban cohesiveness towards achieving a particular goal may either be conscious or subconscious. The conscious level may refer to programs that are implemented by various institutions for a particular intent or a political ideology. Subconscious urban cohesion may be a particular unplanned "common" urban activity. Conscious and subconscious urban cohesions may be influenced by external and internal market-driven forces. But whether these are consciously programmed or subconsciously done as a response to the market driven forces, these all make an urban character. Thus, the case of modern contraceptive use in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines, is an example of subconscious urban cohesion.
In the last quarter of 2006, CUREXO was subcontracted by PRISM through Oro Chamber of Commerce with funds coming from USAID to conduct a rapid appraisal among 27 business companies and corporations with not less than 200 employees. The intent is to gather a baseline data of employees' use of contraceptives. The data will be used in the designing, strengthening and building appropriate Family Welfare interventions by the concerned companies to enhance their work productivity. This includes promotion of modern methods of contraceptives through policy declaration and making it readily available to employees. The rationale of this program rests on the fact that USAID's program on the free supply of modern contraceptives in public health centers will be terminated in 2008. The termination does not mean a total withdrawal of modern methods but making it available not only in drugstores but also in company health centers where employees could have easy access to it. To monitor the progress of the use of contraceptives, a feedback mechanism was installed to update planners on the progress of the program.
The information generated by the Workplace Family Planning Index (WFPI) shows that there is a subconscious cohesion of workers (72%) to limit the number of their offspring even if companies and corporations surveyed (63%) have no installed policy or program. The data shows that even without the Family Welfare Program, employees in selected corporations in Cagayan de Oro City are cohesive in their efforts to lessen their number of offspring. The findings show that the subconscious (or conscious) response of urban households to the economic forces in a developing urban setting is the limiting of household members. Thus, the nuclear family becomes one of the dominant characters of urbanity.


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