Philip­pines braces for baby boom due to lock­down

Arab News - - News Internatio­nal - El­lie Aben Manila

The Philip­pines’ anti-coro­n­avirus lock­down could lead to 214,000 ex­tra ba­bies and the high­est number of births in the coun­try in two decades, a re­port by the Com­mis­sion on Pop­u­la­tion and De­vel­op­ment (POPCOM) has said.

It cited a se­vere lack of ac­cess to fam­ily plan­ning ser­vices, due to the re­stric­tions on move­ment im­posed in March, as the main rea­son for the an­tic­i­pated baby boom next year.

“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,” Un­der­sec­re­tary Juan An­to­nio Perez III, POPCOM ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, said in a re­port.

It cited a study by the University of the Philip­pines Pop­u­la­tion In­sti­tute and the UN Pop­u­la­tion Fund (UNFPA) in say­ing an es­ti­mated 2 mil­lion ba­bies are ex­pected to be born in the coun­try next year.

The study noted that more than 200,000 of the births would be from un­planned preg­nan­cies.

FASTFACT

Lack of ac­cess to fam­ily plan­ning ser­vices, due to re­stric­tions on move­ment, cited as main rea­son.

Perez said the ex­po­nen­tial growth in num­bers is “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.”

The re­port said 10 per­cent of births next year will be among in­di­vid­u­als be­low 20 years of age.

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