Nearly 2 million babies expected to be born in PH due to lockdown

A mother holds a newborn’s hand. | photo

CLOSE to two million babies are expected to be born in the Philippines in the coming year due to the lack of access to contraceptives during the coronavirus lockdown, the Commission on Population and Development said on Thursday, June 25.

The commission estimated the figure based on a study from the University of the Philippines Population Institute and the United Nations Population Fund measuring the pandemic’s impact.

“The regular number of births in the Philippines, like in 2018, was 1.7 million. Now the UP Population Institute has made a projection, in coordination with the UNFPA, that there will be 214,000 additional [births]. So it would appear that 1.9 or almost 2 million babies are [expected] next year [to be born] in the Philippines,” Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III, executive director of PopCom, told ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.

He added that 10% of these births would come from women aged 20 and below.

The baby boom is due to the quarantine period, which has made it harder for families to go to health centers where contraceptives are made available.

“According to UP, if the lockdown continues, more women won’t be given [contraceptives]. If 600,000 [women] are not given family planning supplies, at least 200,000 unplanned pregnancies are expected,” Perez said.

He also said that over 400,000 women are projected to drop out of the country’s family planning program.

“Looking at these numbers, 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,” Perez said.

“Those 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,” he added.

Perez stressed that family planning should still be top-of-mind for everyone amid the lockdown caused by the pandemic.

“Not only for those directly involved in service-delivery, but also for all men and women—mothers and fathers, and even our teenage children—who can make a difference by doing their very best to avoid being added as a statistic to the abovementioned numbers; that is, to ensure that they help reduce the incidences of unplanned pregnancies,” he said.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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