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POPCOM calls on health workers to tap community pantries for distribution of birth control items

Health coordinators and workers in Biñan City, Laguna hold seminars and distribute family planning items. — POPCOM-REGION IV

THE Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) called on health workers to tap community pantries as a venue for the distribution of family planning items such as condoms and contraceptive pills.

“POPCOM is very much supportive of community pantries as a form of collective action in alleviating the need for sustenance of our less privileged. We believe that they will welcome the addition of condoms and pills among the goods they will source — with the help of their local healthcare personnel,” Undersecretary for Population and Development Juan Antonio Perez III said in a statement on Sunday.

The doctor said the dispensation of family planning services and commodities to help prevent unplanned and teenage pregnancies are essential amid the public health emergency.

“The presence of these modern methods of contraception in community pantries should also be seen as filling a void in the rollout of family planning activities, which are greatly disrupted by the pandemic,” he said.

Community pantries, originally a give-and-take food bank concept, have sprouted across the country after the first such initiative was launched using a small bamboo cart by citizen Ana Patricia Non in mid-April.

POPCOM said it has also directed its regional offices to coordinate with community pantry organizers for goods contribution as well as for the distribution of family planning information materials. Mr. Perez cited a recent study of the University of the Philippines-Population Institute and the United Nations Population Fund indicating that the number of women with unmet need for family planning has been exacerbated by the coronavirus-prompted restrictions. — MSJ