Getting contraception to avoid unplanned births was one of the challenges women in Palawan experienced during the peak of the pandemic due to the imposition of lockdowns, according to non-profit organization Roots of Health (ROH).

Aika Pagusara, youth advocacy manager of ROH (also Ugat ng Kalusugan), said that when the COVID-19 pandemic was just starting in 2020, the challenge for many women who weren’t ready to get pregnant was accessing contraceptives for sustained use and related care.

“Yong pagka start talaga ng lockdown noong March 2020, yon yong time na halos tayo lahat hindi makalabas. Ang isa talaga sa mga naging challenge ng mga kababaihan, lalung-lalo na yong mga gumagamit ng contraception, ay yong paano nila patuloy na ma-access yong contraception kasi may iba na nababala na baka mabuntis sila kasi nga hindi sila maka-access,” Pagusara said Wednesday during a PIA-hosted Kapihan at SM City Puerto Princesa.

Pre-COVID time, she said, the number of women who visit them to gain access to contraceptives was about a hundred. When the pandemic hit, this declined because it was difficult to go out due to measures taken to stop the virus from spreading.

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According to Pagusara, now that the lockdowns have been lifted, accessing birth control has become more easier, as evidenced by the number of women who visit their clinic in San Pedro.

“Ngayon, medyo lumuwag luwag na tayo, marami-rami na rin ang mga kababaihan na nakaka-access na rin. Noong nagka-pandemic medyo bumaba siya,” she said.

Despite the obstacle, she added, ROH made sure that women could get services by going to their communities in the early months of the outbreak.

Teen pregnancy declines in Puerto Princesa
During the Kapihan, Pagusara said teen pregnancy cases in Puerto Princesa City have also declined from 1,500 in 2018 to around 700 in 2021, based on data provided by the city and provincial health offices.

“We are happy to say na ayon sa data ng provincial health office at saka ng city health office, medyo bumaba ang teenage pregnancy cases natin, dito sa city mismo,” she said.

“Sana magtuloy-tuloy siya na bumaba talaga,” she added.

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