March 6, 2017
A public health emergency can be nipped in the bud
PHILIPPINE population may explode to 113,798,224 in 2022 from its current count at 104 million today (2017), according to the Commission on Population (POPCOM)’s estimates. Mothers dying during childbirth may also rise by an additional 1000 deaths a year during the next six years[i].
These will be the first of the many adverse effects of derailing the full implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Act of 2012 (Republic Act 10354, or simply, RPRH Law) with a temporary restraining order (TRO) by the Supreme Court (SC), still hanging in the air.
The RPRH Law guarantees universal access to all methods of modern contraception, comprehensive sexuality education, and maternal and child care.
POPCOM is concerned that mothers, wives, young women and their children may get sick, worsen their impoverished plight, or die because free family planning services, under the National Family Planning (FP) Program being carried out by the Department of Health (DOH), under the Duterte administration, are not readily available to them.
Couples in public health centers are offered FP information and services by doctors and other healthcare providers – but they can choose freely – between the natural methods of family planning or go with the medically safe modern methods of family planning, like pills, injectables, condoms, intrauterine devices (IUDs), bilateral tubal ligation for women, or undergo vasectomy, for men. Young Filipino women were also found to prefer another safe and effective method: implants.
The contraceptive implant, which is a small rod about the size of a matchstick inserted under the skin in the upper arm, slowly releases progestogen hormone that can help prevent pregnancy. In The Philippines, contraceptive Implanon and Implanon NXT are at issue.
[i] Based on 2011 Family Health Survey, PSA