Live births may rise by 13% on lockdown

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THE PHILIPPINES expects almost two million live births next year — 13% or 214,000 more than usual — as people mostly stayed home amid a coronavirus pandemic.

About 600,000 Filipino women are also expected not to get their family planning supplies amid a lockdown meant to contain the pandemic, the Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) tod ABS-CBN News on Thursday, citing a study by the University of the Philippines’ Population Institute and United Nations Population Fund.

“Village health centers might not have enough staff members, so we’re urging local governments to please deliver the family planning supplies from house to house,” PopCom Executive Director Juan Antonio A. Perez III said.

There were about 1.7 million live births in 2018, he said. A tenth of the births will be among women below 20 years, he added.

The lockdown will increase the number of adolescents with unmet family planning needs by 15,000 to 178,000, Mr. Perez said.

“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,” he said in a separate statement yesterday.

Mr. Perez said emergency measures for family planning are in place, including home delivery of three months’ worth of supplies.

Health centers are also open to give injectables and subdermal implants to women who wish a more lasting contraceptive effect, he said. — Genshen L. Espedido