Family planning kits depots opened to foil possible ‘baby boom’ during pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — In a bid to avert an imminent “baby boom” amid the pandemic, the Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) has opened some facilities storing materials that will aid in family planning.
PopCom said in a statement on Wednesday that they have opened warehouses in Legazpi, Albay, as well as in Zamboanga, Davao, and Cotabato in Mindanao, citing the importance of providing adequate family planning (FP) kits since the prevailing COVID-19 crisis threatens the access to such devices that may result in unplanned pregnancies.
PopCom Executive Director, Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III, said ensuring the availability of FP kits will enable families to plan their futures notably since the COVID-19 pandemic has badly affected the country’s economy.
“It is important to note that the pandemic has threatened the availability and accessibility of FP commodities and services in public health facilities that may result in unplanned pregnancies and their negative consequences,” Perez said.
“Our warehouses will be instrumental in helping generate and fulfill demand where they are needed, and when they are needed,” he added.
Previously, government officials and child rights advocates have warned that the country may see a population boom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As outbreaks occurred in different areas across the country, the national government imposed varying degrees of community quarantines in a bid to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes the serious respiratory illness COVID-19.
However, observers believe that the stay-at-home policies — which means more time together for couples and families — may lead to unprotected sexual intercourse. PopCom has raised logistical problems in the delivery of FP kits.
PopCom previously said that they are expecting two million live births for 2020 and that 214,000 of the estimate may be due to unplanned pregnancies.
PopCom had also called on lawmakers to prevent teenage pregnancies, which may also likely increase due to the enforced COVID-19 lockdowns.
Experts believe that family planning is even more important nowadays because hospitals and other healthcare facilities need to focus on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Perez said the setting-up of warehouses in Albay and Mindanao cities is proof that PopCom strives for better reproductive health for Filipinos.
“Through them, we are actively putting into action the storage, delivery, and distribution of FP commodities in key areas mostly wanting of these, as evidenced by the monitoring reports generated by our population workers,” Perez said.
“It is only by responding to those needs that we can enable women, men, and couples to make better decisions and eventually, help them uplift their lives,” he added.
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