MANILA, (Mabuhay) — Nearly two million Filipino women between ages 15 and 49 years old are expected to get pregnant this year, according to the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM).

POPCOM said these numbers were from the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), whose recent study estimated the potential unfavorable impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on family planning efforts in the country.

These pregnancies will push the number of births to almost 1.9 million come 2021, the highest number of births in the country since 2000.

According to POPCOM executive director and Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III, one out of three women with unmet needs for family planning will get pregnant. This is due to the restriction of movement under quarantine and the reduction of access on family planning supplies.

The study showed that over 3,099,000 women between 15 to 49 years old have unmet needs for family planning, and a total of 590,000 or a 19 percent will be added to this number due to the quarantine.

Meanwhile, the percentage of women who use any method of modern contraceptive is expected to decline by 2.2 percent, meaning over 400,000 women will drop out of the country’s family planning program.

The study also showed that 10 percent of the expected births will be among women below 20 years old. Due to the lockdown, more adolescents between 15 to 19 years old or about 178,000 teenagers have lost access to family planning supplies.

Aside from offering home delivery of three months’ worth of supplies such as pills and condoms for those enlisted to the family planning program, Perez also shared that health centers are also open to take in women who wish to avail of injectables and subdermal implants.

Perez also shared that POPCOM has an active helpline that can be accessed anytime by anyone on the Usap Tayo sa Family Planning Facebook page (@UsapTayoSaFP).  (MNS)

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