The Department of Health (DOH) and the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) renewed their call to stakeholders—particularly local government units (LGUs)—to continue the provision of family planning (FP) as one of the vital and essential health services, especially during the health crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020, a total of 8,085,000 Filipinos used modern methods of FP—a 6-percent increase from last year. However, there were also reports on dropouts which can be attributed to difficulties in accessing FP services due to COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns, according to the 2020 Annual Report of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012.
“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. 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 kababayans,” said Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III.
“Protecting ourselves from COVID-19 is as equally important as shielding our families from the burden of unintended pregnancies that may hinder our nation in achieving secure and comfortable lives we aspire for every Filipino family, thereby allowing our nation to reach its full economic productivity potential and improve educational outcomes,” stated Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III, executive director of POPCOM.
The DOH and POPCOM will have a joint health event in celebration of the National Family Planning Month this August with the umbrella theme: “Usap Tayo sa Family Planning, atbp.” It will be anchored on the principles of informed choice and promotion of open conversations about FP and allied topics.
In the agencies’ Joint Memorandum Circular, the observance will have four sub-themes:
- “Usap Tayo sa FP so you can Practice Safe Sex,”
- “Usap Tayo sa FP para sa HIV-Free ‘Pinas,”
- “Usap Tayo sa FP dahil ang Pamilyang Planado, Protektado!”, and
- “I CHOOSE: #MalayaAkongMaging…”
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 or STIs—including human immunodeficiency virus or HIV infection which can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome AIDS, informed choice and responsible parenthood, and adolescent health and development.
The DOH and POPCOM said that, together with various partners, they 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.