POPCOM VI: High fertility means higher demands on RH services in WV
High fertility may mean higher demand for reproductive health and other basic services and Western Visayas may face this scenario by the end of 2017.
Given the Population Growth Rate (PGR) of 1.14, Region VI will have a projected population of 7,573,262 by the end of December 31, 2017, while Philippine population is also estimated to reach 105.75 million.
Western Visayas is one among the three regions in the country with high total fertility rate (TFR) of 3.8 compared to the national average of 3.0 according to the 2013 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS). This high TFR requires quality reproductive health services for women, children, adolescents, and Filipino families in general.
Total fertility rate is the average number of children that would be born alive to a woman during her lifetime if she were to pass through all her childbearing years conforming to the age-specific fertility rates of a given year. This means that every woman in the region has an average of three to four children – one or more children than what they desire of 2.4 children.
“The high TFR of the region may be closely linked to the high number of unmet needs for modern family planning at 20% based on National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) 2013,” explained Mr. Harold Alfred P. Marshall, POPCOM VI Regional Director. “Unmet needs are services that women would want to avail in order to space, limit, or stop pregnancy but cannot because of poor access, fear of side effects, husband/partner’s objection or simply the lack of correct information,” Dir. Marshall further explained. Another possible reason POPCOM VI is closely looking into is the slow but steady increase on teenage pregnancy wherein, adolescent girls enter the reproductive age of 15.
“These are unplanned or unintended pregnancies because of no access or worse deprived access to reproductive health services and information,” added Dir. Marshall.
POPCOM VI is currently doing advocacy activities on responsible parenthood and family planning through the Local Population Offices and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) counterparts. For 2016, POPCOM VI has reached 77,352 couples through Family Development Sessions, UsapanSeryes, and Pre-Marriage Counseling. These couples were then referred to health facilities for family planning services that resulted to 18,461 new FP acceptors.
Despite these efforts, POPCOM VI acknowledges the fact that more efforts and collaborative work are needed to be done to really reach those who would want to avail RH services. This is despite the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) from the Supreme Court affecting the Family Planning Program.
“POPCOM VI believes that high fertility may also mean higher chances for human and societal development if the population can be supported and managed by government. But given the prevailing situation and finite resources the increase in population may also lead to higher chances of inequality and inequity” Dir. Marshall stressed.