A study conducted by the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), revealed that an estimated 214, 000 unplanned babies will be born this year which will also push the number of births in the country to almost 1.9 million this year due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) said that the lockdown also meant hundreds of thousands of teenage women have been unable to access family planning supplies and this is one of the adverse impacts of community quarantine to the welfare of every family which further aggravates the situation of the ongoing health crisis.
POPCOM further said that in 2020, nearly two million Filipino women, ages 15-49 years old, are expected to get pregnant and 10 percent of these pregnancies are among girls below 20. Many of these women are expected to give birth nine months after the imposed community quarantines.
In the 7th KTOP-COVID (Kapakanan ng Tao sa Oras ng Pandemya-COVID) webinar organized by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-National Research Council of the Philippines (NCRP), Dr. Gloria Luz M. Nelson, Division 8 Regular Member, shared stories of Filipino Pregnant Teenagers and Teenage Mothers and their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
From the researcher’s perspective, teenage pregnancy and teenage mothers mean facing multiple burdens such as low to no income, low education, less employment opportunities, and health risk; pandemic is not the cause of teenage pregnancy but several mediating factors such as school closures, dysfunctional family, and lack of access to sexual and reproductive health education.
POPCOM Caraga Director Alexander A. Makinano on the other hand, remarked that research results confirm the need for social support in the four areas: family support system, financial and economic support, education, health and nutrition including mental health. “Teen pregnancy is increasing and it requires both societal and unified efforts and interventions. It is a major concern of all social institutions”, Makinano emphasized.