MANILA – Knowledge of the different contraception methods for family planning that are available in the Philippine market today will not only empower the female population but will also improve the quality of life of Filipinos.
In a virtual briefing on Thursday, the Commission on Population (PopCom) laid out some of its efforts to deliver these kinds of information to a wider audience especially during the pandemic where the threat of expansion of the country's population is seen due to long periods of community quarantine.
“Worldwide, the Covid-19 outbreak has significantly impaired access to, and awareness of, the far-reaching benefits of contraception. It’s essential that we continue to support self-determined family planning and make contraceptives more accessible to a greater number of Filipinos -- especially during this pandemic when our established plans for our families, in particular, families led by mothers who are minors or teenagers and programs for our countrymen can be easily compromised by this health emergency,” PopCom Executive Director Juan Antonio Perez III said four days before the World Contraception Day commemoration on Sept. 26.
Together with the Department of Health (DOH) and Bayer Philippines Inc., the PopCom pushed to increase awareness on the country’s reproductive health situation that can be achieved through better investments and intensified support for women’s health, family planning programs, as well as increased awareness of the provisions of Republic Act 10354, or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law.
This will be possible through partnerships with allied government agencies and local government units, the private sector, civil society organizations, academe, the media, and other relevant advocates.
During World Population Day 2021 in July, PopCom has reported that despite the modest addition to the 8 million Filipino women and men who have availed of modern family planning services in 2020, it is likely that the pandemic has “severely impaired” their access to reproductive health and family planning services, which are particularly challenged by the Covid-19 pandemic.
This could lead to a possible rise in the numbers of unplanned pregnancies particularly among adolescents, maternal mortalities, and cases of gender-based violence.
Bayer Philippines Inc. Managing Director and Country Division Head Angel Michael Evangelista shared their successful launch of the Ask Mara automated chat via Facebook in 2019.
The chatbot entertains queries on pregnancy, pills, and other contraceptive methods.
"In the long run, educating and enabling women, especially adolescents, to make more informed choices on contraception helps improve their quality of life and economic capability. And together with our partners, I’m sure we can contribute to enhancing young women's knowledge about the different contraceptive choices and the importance of family planning," Evangelista said.
Despite the limitations due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH is cognizant of the need for safe and accurate avenues “where Filipino men and women, especially our adolescents have the access to resources and support for family planning and contraception, be it online or offline".
World Contraception Day 2021 underlines the importance of continued partnership among the government and non-government agencies and generating awareness on family planning.
On its 15th anniversary, the celebration focuses on empowering Filipinos especially the youth to make informed decisions in their reproductive health, with the hope of enabling them to enjoy a healthy and productive life. (PNA)