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An extra 214,000 babies in the Asian country could reportedly be born due to hundreds of thousands of people unable to access family planning services. According to the Philippine’s Commission on Population and Development (Popcom), an estimated 10 percent of the unplanned pregnancies will be from teenagers aged between 15-19.
The baby boom is expected to be the highest in two decades.
The cause of the surge of unplanned pregnancies is reportedly due to restrictions on movement during lockdown.
This has prevented people from accessing clinics along with the lack of availability of contraceptives including condoms due to the pandemic.
Popcom announced that nearly 3.6m women aged between 15 and 49 years old have had an “unmet need for family planning” during the lockdown which is almost a fifth more than normal.
Juan Antonio Perez III, executive director of Popcom, said: “We foresee that because of the restrictions of movement as well as the reduction of access of women and men to family planning supplies, there will be at least one pregnancy for every three women with an unmet need for family planning.
“These are just some of the adverse impacts of the community quarantine to the welfare of our families, which further aggravates the situation of the ongoing health crisis.”
Philippine’s President Rodrigo Duterte has lead a long and strict lockdown and threatened to “shoot down” anyone who violated.
They were the third country to impose restrictions in March and are still under lockdown now.
The restrictions have had a heavy impact on the country’s economy and services, particularly its already suffering health care system.
In the Philippines there have been 36,000 coronavirus cases and around 1,200 deaths.
Mr Perez from Popcom has urged Filipinos to “do their very best” to avoid being part of the “staggering” statistics.
He said that helpline and clinics were open and home-deliveries of three month supplies of the contraception pill and condoms were available.
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The commission expect that there will be almost 1.9 million babies born in total next year in the Philippines.
This is the highest rate since 2000.
Mr Perez said: “This should sound the alarm for everyone that as the pandemic rages on, family planning should still be top-of-mind for everyone.”
Along with the University of Philippines Population Institute (UPPI), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has created projections.
They warn that the global impact on birth rates and women’s health of coronavirus could be “calamitous”.
The two also predicted that 47 million women across the world in lower and middle-income countries will lose access to contraception which could lead to 7 million unplanned pregnancies.
Dr Natalia Kanem, the UNFPA executive director, said: “The pandemic is keeping inequalities, and millions more women and girls now risk losing the ability to plan their families and protect their bodies and their health.”
Tomoko Fukuda, the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s regional director for east, southeast Asia and Oceania explained how abusive environments during lockdown can affect women’s sexual health.
She said that people suck at home in an abusive environment may not be able to control their sexual health.
She added: “Being confined to the home and not being able to go out, that affects a lot of things, in terms of women’s decision making.”
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