Standard Days Method (SDM) is a natural family planning method which helps the user to identify her fertile window in the menstrual cycle, hence enabling her to significantly reduce chances of unwanted pregnancies. Under this, a woman can track the days of her menstrual cycle by using CycleBeads – colour-coded string of beads – and identify the days she is most likely to get pregnant.
SDM can be especially effective in regions with high fertility but low contraceptive prevalence, such as Kanpur, which had 22.4% unmet need for family planning (higher than the national average of 20.5%) and low 17.5% contraceptive prevalence rate in 2008. This highlighted the need for introducing SDM as a safe contraceptive alternative that has no associated health risks or side effects and adding it to the basket of choices. With the aim of promoting the use of CycleBeads as a safe family planning tool, HLFPPT conducted social marketing of CycleBeads under the brand name Ritumala in Kanpur district. The three-year programme (April 2010-June 2013) was implemented with financial support from the Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH) at Georgetown University, Washington.
We did capacity building at both the supply and demand side. More than 300 community-based healthcare providers and frontline workers were involved in this programme. Ritumala was socially marketed through the existing network of Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) in urban slums and through ASHAs in rural blocks and villages.