TO reach out to more Filipinos and communicate the importance of family planning during the current pandemic crisis, the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) has launched its new Facebook live series entitled “Usap Tayo sa Family Planning.”
Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III, POPCOM Executive Director and called “Doc Jeepy,” who will host the program, said that the FB live series was launched since it is still very difficult to go to the barangays for a face to face discussion and talk about family planning in view of the continued threat of COVID-19.
“We realize the need to be more creative in tapping other channels such as social media so that we can inform more Filipinos on family planning and health to uplift their well-being,” Perez said.
In support of POPCOM’s thrust on family planning education, the Bayer company has partnered with the government organization through its own platform, Ask Mara PH.
Ask Mara is a social media channel that provides awareness on different contraceptive options for modern Filipino women.
“While educating Filipinos on family planning, we highlight the different contraceptive options available that would suit their needs. This includes the contraceptive pill, which has been around for 60 years to support women’s health,” Perez added.
Almost six decades ago, the first contraceptive pill enabled women to gain control over their own bodies at a previously unprecedented level.
For the first time, they were able to prevent pregnancy by taking a hormonal preparation. This revolutionary method of family planning became a turning-point for society and a key driver of emancipation.
The UN estimates that today 151 million women all over the world aged between 15 and 49 use the pill as their contraceptive method of choice.
“The pill was the first time that women had been able to take control of major life decisions, especially family planning,” said Dr. May Pagunsan, Country Medical Director for Bayer Philippines.
From a 2018 published report on abortion worldwide entitled “Uneven Progress and Unequal Access,” there were around 99 million unplanned pregnancies between 2010 and 2014, over half of which (56 percent) ended in abortion.
In another study which tracked unintended pregnancy and its outcomes from 1990 to 2014, experts estimate that around 44 percent of all pregnancies are unplanned; this rises by 20 percentage points in developing economic countries compared to developed countries (65 percent compared to 45 percent).
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), there are 214,000 unplanned pregnancies projected this year.
For 2021, the number of unplanned pregnancies will increase to 740,000 unplanned pregnancies, almost a 50% increase.
Moreover, three out of every 10 pregnancies are unplanned or unintended, based on a Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) survey.
The UNFPA also reported that even if some 214 million women worldwide want to avoid pregnancy, they risk getting pregnant. This is due to lack of access to family planning methods or absence of support from partners and communities.
Similarly, the National Demographic and Health Survey shows that 9% women aged 15-19 have begun childbearing and 17% of women aged 15-49 want to practice family planning but do not have access to said methods. This hinders women to reach their full potential to contribute more for themselves and their families.
“Numbers of unplanned pregnancies are still high here in the Philippines,” added Dr. Pagunsan. “Bayer is seeking to change this by providing a broad range of different contraceptive products and methods, strengthening and supporting women in the life decisions they take.”
Perez, meanwhile, said that one of objectives of POPCOM is to reduce the level of poverty in the country by engaging with women and men so that more Filipino families to take control of their health and capability to support children.
“If there are more family planning options that are affordable, acceptable and accessible, it will be easier for families to manage what they can and enhance their standard of living,” Perez added.