Reproductive Health

‘NCR Plus’ LGUs to deliver birth control for families under lockdown

Michelle Abad
‘NCR Plus’ LGUs to deliver birth control for families under lockdown

DELIVERY. Local government units along with the PopCom will deliver family planning methods to families in lockdown areas.

Photo courtesy of PopCom

The population commission and the health department worry there may be 'very few' health workers able to provide birth control services amid the need to prioritize COVID-19 cases

Local governments units (LGUs) in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces will be conducting house-to-house deliveries of free birth control pills and condoms for Filipino families in hard lockdown areas.

The government placed “NCR Plus,” referring to Metro Manila, along with surrounding provinces Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna, on lockdown or enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from Monday, March 29, until April 4.

The LGUs will work in partnership with the Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) for the delivery services. According to the PopCom, the lockdown would affect about 700,000 Filipinos using condoms and pills.

PopCom executive director Juan Antonio Perez III said the families who are listed as “family planning acceptors” in local government health facilities can have their pills and condoms delivered by health and population volunteers.

Those who are not yet registered and need their birth control delivered can reach out to the PopCom’s helplines.

The deliveries “will be specific to ‘NCR Plus’ only and areas with lockdown; and for those who have not had a recent supply,” Perez said. If LGUs run out of supplies, PopCom will deliver.

Unplanned pregnancy threat amid surge

The new delivery service comes alongside a record-high surge of new daily COVID-19 cases, especially in virus epicenter Metro Manila.

The PopCom said it would tap LGUs to help mobilize volunteers amid a shared concern with the Department of Health (DOH) that there may be “very few” health workers who will be able to provide birth control services in light of the need to prioritize COVID-19 cases.

On March 24, the DOH announced that cities in Metro Manila were “high to critical risk” with huge case surges. Health facilities are also overwhelmed.

In the ECQ period of 2020 from March to May, Perez said the ‘NCR Plus’ area “fared inadequately in family planning and reproductive health.”

At the end of 2020, the PopCom reported that 70,755 families were led by minors. They project that this number will balloon to 133,265 by the end of 2021.

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Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a researcher-writer at Rappler. Possessing the heart and soul of a feminist, she is working on specializing in women's issues in Newsbreak, Rappler's investigative arm.