CALLING for a better family planning method and an accessible contraceptive distribution nationwide, the Department of Health (DoH), in collaboration with the Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) and Bayer Philippines Inc., led the observance of World Contraception Day 2021.

The agencies are pushing to increase awareness on the country's reproductive health situation that can be achieved through better investments and intensified support for women's health and family planning programs as well as increased awareness of the provisions of Republic Act 10354 or the "Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law" through partnerships with allied government agencies and local government units, the private sector, civil society organizations, the academe and the media.

PopCom reported that despite the modest addition to the 8 million Filipino women and men who have availed of modern family planning services in 2020, it is likely that the pandemic has "severely impaired" their access to reproductive health and family planning services, which are particularly challenged by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The Department of Health is cognizant of the need for safe and accurate avenues where Filipino men and women, especially our adolescents have the access to resources and support for family planning and contraception, be it online or offline," said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

"Committed to providing unbiased, accurate and trusted information about contraceptive methods, Bayer launched in 2019 Ask Mara automated chat via Facebook where you can know more about pregnancy, the pill and other contraceptive methods," said Angel Michael Evangelista, managing director and country division head at Pharmaceuticals, Bayer Philippines Inc.