Two nonprofit groups launched on Friday a resource book on reproductive health aimed at helping women and the youth face challenges in the midst of the pandemic.

“Communities, Contraceptives, and COVID-19: Ensuring Continued Access to Reproductive Health Services in the New Normal” is a handbook written by Amina Evangelista Swanepoel, ROH Executive Director, and Amie Perez, ROH Media Director, with illustrations by Aaron Bonete and layout by Gloria Lim.

The toolkit bids to address disparities in reproductive health that women and youth encounter during the situation of the pandemic.

The Learning Product was ROH’s brainchild after providing contraceptives to over 18,000 women and girls in 2020, almost nine percent more than the previous year. It is considered a huge and astounding achievement considering pandemic limitations.

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Every year, more than 196,000 Filipino girls between the ages of 15 and 19 give birth in the country. With fewer resources, the pandemic has exacerbated the issue, resulting in a rise in adolescent pregnancy, maternal mortality, and HIV infections. These were at the heart of ROH’s efforts to encourage more women and young people to seek medical help.

Recognizing the challenges in providing services even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Learning Product can offer reproductive health care providers and stakeholders insights on continued access to reproductive health care during a pandemic and other similar public health system disruptions. The guide features an anthology of best practices derived from experiences on the ground working with women and young people.

With its ultimate goal to improve access to RH services for women and youth outside Palawan, health care providers and civil service organizations are enjoined to adopt ROH’s best practices in providing community-based RH services during COVID-19; and making health facilities more youth-friendly, through ROH’s Youth-Friendly Clinics Assessment Tool.

As women and young people struggle with access to reproductive health education and services, a situation amplified by the pandemic, ROH hopes to curb teen pregnancy, maternal mortality, and HIV, by increasing awareness on the unmet need for reproductive health services amid COVID-19 and its consequent sexual health vulnerabilities.

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is a desk editor and senior reporter of Palawan News. He covers politics, environment, tourism, justice, and sports. In his free time, he enjoys long walks with his dog, Bayani.