Ways to combat family planning myths bared

October 5, 2022 Cory Martinez 663 views

CORRECT information, proper education and open communication in actively promoting the benefits of family planning and contraceptives are the best ways to combat the myths and misconceptions on family planning and reproductive health.

This was stressed by the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) during the recently held World Contraception Day with the local theme “Usap Tayo sa Family Planning.”

POPCOM Officer In Charge-Executive Director Lolito R. Tacardon stressed that the agency places a premium on correct information, proper education and open in encouraging a nation where every pregnancy is planned.

During the event, the POPCOM together with the Bayer Philippines Inc. aggressively promoted facts on family planning since there are at least 218 million women from low-to-middle-income countries, including Philippines, have an unmet need for modern contraception amid myths.

The POPCOM said the myths and misconceptions on Family Planning and Reproductive Health that proliferate caused clouding perceptions and access in making informed choices.

Tacardon said that while contraceptives are readily available, this does not mean they are accessible to everyone.

He said that barriers to access range from lack of awareness and affordability, to limitations based on age or marital status.

Tacardon added the implementation of Republic Act 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law has helped expand the total number of those availing family planning services by 30%.

Currently, there are about 8.1 million Filipinos enjoying the benefits of having their families planned.

According to latest data from health centers and health facilities nationwide, pills remain to be the most preferred family planning method by some 3.2 million Filipino women in 2020.

Tacardon disclosed that despite the uptick in access, concerns about contraceptives still persist with regard to their side effects, myths, stigma and opposition from others.

Some of the common ones are that “people who use contraceptives end up with health problems,” or that “contraceptives are dangerous to women’s health,” “contraceptives can harm your womb,” or even endanger future ability to become pregnant.

To help dispel these myths, Angel-Michael Evangelista, Bayer Philippines Inc. Managing Director and Country Division Head for Pharmaceuticals said they continue to advocate for women’s health and their ability to make an informed choice through our ongoing online and offline programs.

“Our existing Ask Mara chatbot on Facebook helps women get in touch with teleconsultation services through our tie-up with telehealth provider HealthNow to provide vouchers for consultation with OB-GYNs, as well as help locate nearby drug stores. We also partner with agencies like POPCOM to achieve the vision of a world where every pregnancy is wanted,” Evangelista said.

Tacardon, meanwhile said that POPCOM sees more Filipinos relying on the benefits of modern contraception methods.

“This is evidenced by the country’s estimated total fertility rate consistently declining in the past two decades, and in 2021 was recorded at 1.8 children per family or couple,” he added.

“To achieve such, we work closely with the national and local governments, as well as partners such as Bayer Philippines in ensuring all bases are covered, and all possible knowledge platforms and pathways are harnessed and maximized—despite limitations presented by the pandemic,” Tacardon said.