COVID-19 lockdown as aphrodisiac? Couples asked to avoid unplanned pregnancy
MANILA, Philippines — Noting the historical trend that unplanned pregnancies spike during natural calamities, the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) has urged couples to practice family planning and responsible parenthood even while the enhanced community quarantine is in effect across Luzon due to COVID-19.
According to POPCOM, accidental pregnancies should no longer add to the heavy load of health workers who are already grappling to treat patients in this time of COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are uncertain as to when the health emergency caused by COVID-19 will abate. As such, we do not want to add on to the current situation with another possible crisis caused by unplanned pregnancies, as they could bear added weight to our already strained medical institutions,” POPCOM Executive Director Juan Antonio Perez III said in a statement on March 24.
According to Perez, the number of unplanned pregnancies historically increases during natural calamities “when couples and individuals cohabitate for longer periods.”
He also noted that the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon, which compels over 50 million people to stay inside their homes and shuts malls and other establishments for entertainment purposes, poses challenges to couples because of interrupted access to family planning supplies and services.
“Being a health agency, it is our duty and commitment to the Filipino people to remind them that family planning—especially during situations when persons are asked to stay indoors—should always be accessed and practiced,” said the POPCOM chief.
Thus, Perez said POPCOM will continue to advocate for the provision of basic family services in local communities as part of the essential services needed by couples to avert the longer impact of unintended pregnancies.
He then encouraged local government units to tap barangay population volunteers, initially in Metro Manila, to help educate communities on COVID-19 and provide family planning supplies for “continuing users” of pills and condoms that will last for three months.
Amid the implementation of the quarantine, POPCOM said its family wellness clinic at its central office in Barangay Addition Hills in Mandaluyong City will remain open to serve couples and individuals with immediate family planning needs.
Those who have inquiries on family planning may also reach out to POPCOM’s Usap Tayo sa Family Planning Facebook account to talk to family planning officers, who are on duty from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Fridays.
POPCOM added it is also working with the Department of Health in sharing information about the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, in its social media accounts and website.
To date, the Philippines has 707 people infected with COVID-19, including 45 deaths and 28 recoveries.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2, which outbreak started in China’s Wuhan City in Hubei province in late 2019.
The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a pandemic since it has already infected more than 472,000 people worldwide and killed more than 21,300. On the other hand, over 114,700 people have recovered so far from the disease.
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