PopCom to link up with LGUs in house-to-house delivery of family planning products
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) is looking to work more closely with local government units to ensure the delivery of family planning products and services even with the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) enforced — particularly in the so-called bubble composed of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.
Those are the areas where residents are most restricted in their movements, with 700,000 women and men there using contraceptives having impeded access to these products, PopCom said in a statement issued on Monday.
To ensure the steady supply of family planning products in the ECQ bubble, as well as the rest of the country, PopCom said it would do house-to-house deliveries of pills and condoms in close coordination with LGUs.
The country is currently seeing an upsurge in COVID-19 cases, especially within the ECQ bubble. With another record-high increase in new cases, the Philippines now has 115,495 active infections.
PopCom faced a similar problem with the distribution of products in 2020 when Luzon and other parts of the country were placed under an ECQ, the government’s most stringent quarantine classification.
As the focus shifted on efforts to end COVID-19 — and with the pandemic altering travel — family planning took a backseat. Last December, PopCom said that it was rearing to recover in 2021 and address issues that were left open in 2020, like the expected increase in live births and teenage pregnancies.
Health Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III, who is the PopCom executive director, said the new PopCom effort was meant to make up for the poor performance of Metro Manila and surrounding provinces in terms of family planning, with the pandemic pushing back the country’s status to 2018 levels.
“The context of our concern last year was related to the severity of lockdowns, population affected, and the length of the period of ECQ. The current one is quite limited, but will affect a third of the population, and might take its toll on local health systems,” Perez said.
“However, we have noted that last year, the NCR and surrounding provinces performed poorly in terms of family planning and reproductive health. Thus, we need to double on our efforts to ensure we get back on track with our provisions for those relying on our family planning services nationwide,” he added.
But despite these concerns, Perez assured the public that PopCom would try its best to address the family planning concerns that had popped up recently.
“As we acknowledge the invaluable assistance they currently extend to the grassroots and other hard to reach areas, we once again call on our barangay health and population workers and volunteers, also on behalf of the millions of family planning users in the entire Philippines, to extend their energies to our family planning work,” Perez noted.
“We are aware that their hands are currently full. But we know our innate bayanihan spirit can prevail over the pandemic, and that we can count on the unwavering support of our community volunteers in these very trying times. We assure them that their collective determination will not, and will never, be in vain,” he added.
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