MANILA — The Philippines and the rest of the world might see a surge in unintended pregnancies if the public is not able to access family planning services due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, the Department of Health said Tuesday.
“Based on our studies, about 25% of services in our family planning services in the local hospitals and also in our RHUs (regional health units) seem to have had hampered provision (of family planning services) during the pandemic,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a media briefing.
Among the problems faced by the DOH in the country is the limited staff due to reassignment of health workers to COVID-19 response, lack of stocks, limited mobility due to border closures, and implementation of physical distancing inside health centers.
“Looking at the different articles (from) abroad and other countries, there might be an issue with population after the pandemic has ended,” Vergeire said.
Citing global estimates, Vergeire said the world might be seeing 7 million unintended pregnancies if the lockdowns continue in the next 6 months.
The United Nations estimates the current global population at 7.7 billion, of which, over 108 million is the Philippines'.
The DOH reminded the public that family planning supplies such as condom and pills are offered for free at barangay health centers and other government health units. They can also be purchased at convenience stores and pharmacies.
Vergeire said the public can join its Usap Tayo sa Family Planning Facebook page, or call the the Population Commission’s helplines - 0998-865-2810; 0917-597-0770; 0918-923-4912; 0917-375-6721; (02) 8782-9284; or (02) 8531-6897.