The coronavirus pandemic despite, 8,085,000 Filipinos in 2020, when the lockdown began in mid March, used modern methods of Family Planning, a 6 percent increase from the previous year, the Department of Health said.
But there were reports on dropouts which can be attributed to difficulties in accessing family planning services due to COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns, the DOH said.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event that has put the world to a standstill, yet the Philippines still managed to make progress in FP (family planning).
“We commend our service providers and partners in the field for their unwavering dedication and efforts in making sure that FP services are available and accessible, especially during these trying times. This is a testament that the pandemic should not be a hindrance to pursuing open conversations and continuous service provision in family planning for our kababayan.”
In this regard, the Department of Health and the Commission on Population and Development renewed their call to stakeholders, particularly local government units, to continue the provision of family planning as one of the vital and essential health services, amid the health crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The DOH and POPCOM will have a joint health event in celebrating the National Family Planning Month this August with the umbrella theme: “Usap Tayo sa Family Planning atbp.”
The celebration is aimed at integrating the messaging on family planning within the context of sexual and reproductive health during health crises; sexually transmitted infections including human immunodeficiency virus infection which can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; informed choice and responsible parenthood; and adolescent health and development.
The National Family Planning Month will also feature two virtual health events entitled “Usap Tayo sa National Family Planning 2021” and “Usap Tayo sa Family Planning Experts” to be conducted on August 4 and 18, respectively.
Regional Offices of both agencies will also conduct local events such as online press conferences, webinars, social media campaigns, among others to generate widespread attention on the importance and benefits of FP in promoting the overall health and wellness of the Filipinos.
The DOH, POPCOM, and various partners, will remain relentless in investing in the health and rights of women as well as couples, so they can have the power to choose, plan and attain their goals and dreams for themselves and their families.
As part of the celebration of the National Family Planning Month this August, Police Cpl. Francis Sagmaquen, an investigator at the Caloocan Police Station, related that he and his wife Angel, agreed to have the former vasectomized as their family planning method in a public event hosted by DOH and POPCOM.
They have three children and Angel at the moment is pregnant.
Sagmaquen said vasectomy, a surgical procedure for male sterilization or permanent contraception, lasted 15 minutes.
During the procedure, the male vasa deferentia are cut and tied or sealed so as to prevent sperm from entering into the urethra and thereby prevent fertilization of a female through sexual intercourse.
Other family planning methods include the use of contraceptives and periodic abstinence.
The DOH and POPCOM launched the National Family Planning Month Wednesday by talking about their programs and the situation of Reproductive Health issues in the Philippines including family planning and teenage pregnancy.
In December 2012, then President Benigno Aquino III signed one of the most controversial laws in the country, RA 10354: The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Statistics Authority and the Civil Registration and Vital Statistics presented data on the increasing number of adolescent mothers from 10-14 years old.
In 2016, both agencies recorded 1,903 live births and 2,441 cases of live births from adolescent mothers were recorded in 2019.
However, the number of births from teenage mothers 15-19 years old was declining. From 201,182 cases in 2016 it decreased to 178,505 in 2019. POPCOM Usec. Juan Antonio Perez III said there were factors that had driven adolescent pregnancies.
According to him, one of these factors was the absence of parents and that while they were present they would not talk about sexuality, responsible parenthood with their children.
In the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey, Davao Region recorded 18 percent of the number of women 15-19 years old who have begun childbearing it was followed by Northern Mindanao and Soccsksargen region with both 15 percent.
In the same year, NDHS also reported that about 3.6 percent of adolescent women from 15-19 years old suffered violence during their pregnancy.
In 2019, PSA registered a total number of 117 maternal deaths among adolescent mothers; the highest number of deaths among teenage mothers are from 18-19 years old with 70 death cases while for minor ages 10-17 a total of 47 deaths were recorded.
In 2017, PSA and NDHS also recorded a high fertility rate of 3.6 in Region 6 followed by Region 12 with 3.4. Which are way beyond the average fertility rate of 2.7.
Perez also said that even though other regions had a higher fertility rate compared to the National Capital Region, past censuses could prove these regions were slowly catching up in terms of the decreasing number of fertility rates in the country.
On the other hand, Dr. Jan Aura Laurelle Llevado of the Disease Prevention and Control Bureau of DOH explained the effects of COVID-19 if there was a decline in the use of family planning methods in the country.
One such effect is unsafe abortion which Llevado said led to maternal mortality.