October 3, 2022
Bayer Philippines Inc. and POPCOM have pushed on World Contraception Day for a more aggressive facts promotion on Family planning even as approximately 218 million women from low-to-middle-income countries, including Philippines, have an unmet need for modern contraception amid myths.
Bayer and the the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) are advocating for women’s health and their reproductive choice to combat misinformation as captured by the local theme: “Usap Tayo sa Family Planning.”
Myths and misconceptions on Family Planning and Reproductive Health proliferate– clouding perceptions and access in making informed choices.
While contraceptives are readily available, this does not mean they are accessible to everyone. Barriers to access range from lack of awareness and affordability, to limitations based on age or marital status.
For World Contraception Day 2022, POPCOM also shared that the implementation of Republic Act 10354, or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law which has helped expand the total number of those availing family planning services by 30%.
Currently, there are about 8.1 million Filipinos enjoying the benefits of having their families planned.
According to latest data from health centers and health facilities nationwide, pills remain to be the most preferred family planning method by some 3.2 million Filipino women in 2020.
Pills had an additional 1 million adherents from 2016 figures. Implants also had a significant increase in acceptors: from 103,000 to 474,000 in the span of those years. Same was true for injectables: from 959,000 to 1.6 million.
For males, within that period, about 400,000 resorted to condoms—up from 270,000.
Despite the uptick in access, concerns about contraceptives still persist with regard to their side effects, myths, stigma and opposition from others.
Some of the common ones are that “people who use contraceptives end up with health problems,” or that “contraceptives are dangerous to women’s health,” “contraceptives can harm your womb,” or even endanger future ability to become pregnant.
The World Contraception Day (WCD) takes place yearly on September 26 to raise awareness among women of reproductive age regarding sexual and reproductive health.
Providing women access to scientifically accurate and non-judgmental information about a range of contraceptive methods, their pros and cons, and related sexual health topics encourages them to take control over their reproductive and sexual lives.
Important, this helps them make informed choices.
To help dispel these myths, Bayer Philippines Inc. Managing Director and Country Division Head for Pharmaceuticals Angel-Michael Evangelista shared: “Bayer in the Philippines continues to advocate for women’s health and their ability to make an informed choice through our ongoing online and offline programs.”
“Our existing Ask Mara chatbot on Facebook helps women get in touch with teleconsultation services through our tie-up with telehealth provider HealthNow to provide vouchers for consultation with OB-GYNs, as well as help locate nearby drug stores. We also partner with agencies like POPCOM to achieve the vision of a world where every pregnancy is wanted.”
On top of that, Evangelista adds: “Bayer Philippines is extending awareness on healthcare, contraception and family planning to our smallholder farmers through the Bayer Kubo, our flagship social engagement program which will run in Cabanbanan, Pangasinan and Dolores, Quezon this year.”
“POPCOM sees more Filipinos relying on the benefits of modern contraception methods. This is evidenced by the country’s estimated total fertility rate consistently declining in the past two decades, and in 2021 was recorded at 1.8 children per family or couple,” explained the agency’s Officer In Charge-Executive Director Lolito R. Tacardon.
“Encouraging a nation where every pregnancy is planned, POPCOM places a premium on correct information, proper education and open communication in actively promoting the benefits of family planning and contraceptives,” asserted the POPCOM official.
“To achieve such, we work closely with the national and local governments, as well as partners such as Bayer Philippines in ensuring all bases are covered, and all possible knowledge platforms and pathways are harnessed and maximized—despite limitations presented by the pandemic.”
Citing the latest RPRH Law Annual Report, Tacardon pointed out that efforts in delivering accurate and the most current information on contraceptives to more Filipinos will particularly focus on further increasing demand for modern contraception methods, which stood at 58.1 percent in 2021.
Since its global launch in 2007, there are over a dozen international partners supporting WCD with Bayer being there from the early start.
The partners are dedicated to increasing access to and availability of family planning services and education. They have united to create and enhance awareness, underline the importance of empowering young people to learn about sexual and reproductive health, and to talk boldly about it with their healthcare providers and partners. Together, they call on governments and decision-makers to encourage them in promoting the subject at the political level.
About Your Life: The global campaign
“Your Life” is directed at young people and pursues the vision of a world where every pregnancy is wanted. The annual highlight of the ongoing activities is World Contraception Day on September 26. To support the campaign and its goals, a broad range of international partners form the World Contraception Day Coalition, which is sponsored by Bayer.
The campaign has a dedicated website, www.your-life.com, where young people can get accurate and unbiased information on contraception. The content is presented in a straightforward, interactive and relatable way, without judgment or lectures. It seeks to address the needs and questions of a young audience, counter common myths and provide guidance and preparation for a well-informed discussion on contraceptive methods with a healthcare professional.
The online presence is complemented by the YourLife social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter as well as the YOURLA chatbot.
About Women’s Healthcare at Bayer
Bayer is a recognized leader in the area of women’s healthcare, with a long-standing commitment to delivering science for a better life by advancing a portfolio of innovative treatments.
Bayer offers a wide range of effective short- and long-acting birth control methods as well as therapies for menopause management and gynecological diseases. Bayer is also focusing on innovative options to address the unmet medical needs of women worldwide. Today, Bayer’s research and development efforts focus on finding new treatment options for menopause as well as gynecological diseases and includes several compounds in various stages of pre-clinical and clinical development.
Together, these projects reflect the company’s approach to research, which prioritizes targets and pathways with the potential to alter the way that gynecological diseases are treated. Additionally, Bayer intends to provide 100 million women in low-and-middle income countries by 2030 with access to family planning by funding multi-stakeholder aid programs and by ensuring the supply of affordable modern contraceptives. This is part of the comprehensive sustainability measures and commitments from 2020 onwards and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
About the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM)
It is the country’s lead organization in population management for well-planned and empowered Filipino families and communities. POPCOM aims to empower Filipino individuals, families and communities by enabling them to achieve their fertility intentions, prevent adolescent pregnancies, and consciously consider population factors in sustainable development initiatives.