DOH sees shortage of contraceptive pills
The Department of Health (DOH) has notified government hospitals and other public health facilities of an “imminent” shortage in combined oral contraceptive pills because of growing demand, global supply gaps and delays in procurement.
Based on a Sept. 12 circular, the DOH said it expects to soon run out of the combined hormonal pill with estrogen and progesterone in government health facilities due to “various factors.”
It advised health-care workers in DOH-run facilities on the proper guidelines they should disseminate to their patients should they choose to shift to other contraceptive types in order to achieve healthy birth spacing and prevent unplanned pregnancies. “It is important to ensure that there are no gaps in between use of contraceptives,” read the memo signed by Health Undersecretary and spokesperson Enrique Tayag.
The DOH has given four other birth control methods as options in the event that the combined contraceptive pill is not available: progesterone-only pills, depot medroxyprogesterone acetate injectables, progestin implants and intrauterine devices.
The recommended starting period and duration of use vary for each contraception option, but the health agency suggests condom as the only “backup method” for at least two to seven days after making the switch.
Nearly half of married Filipino women age 15 to 49 use modern contraception at 41.8 percent, with pills as their most preferred method, data from the 2022 National Demographic and Health Survey show.
But teenage pregnancy remains a “persistent problem” in the country, according to the Commission on Population and Development (CPD).
In a separate statement on Tuesday, the CPD noted the rising prevalence of live births among girls, with about 17 percent of the total pregnancies among 10 to 19 years old identified as “cases of repeat pregnancies.”
“Factors contributing to the prevalence of adolescent pregnancies include lack of reproductive health information and services,” said the CPD, formerly known as Popcom.
The country takes part in the annual celebration of World Contraception Day every Sept. 26 in an effort to raise sexual and reproductive health among adolescents.