May 11, 2020
The Provincial Population Office (PPO) of Misamis Oriental is set to mobilize its barangay population volunteers (BPVs) and barangay health workers (BHWs) to resupply family planning (FP) commodities such as pills, condoms, and vertical beads to the different barangays of the province amid public health emergency due to COVID-19.
In a meeting, Mr. Andrew Gapuz, Provincial Population Officer of Misamis Oriental, has requested the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM – Region X) to provide, apart from the FP commodities, the personal protective equipment (PPE) and hygiene products such as alcohol and sanitizers to ensure safety of the family planning frontliners upon deployment.
POPCOM – Region X Director Jeremias Gupit stated that, “Our office, in partnership with the Department of Health, is always committed to continue to resupply FP commodities in the local levels and provide provision on reproductive health information to the people despite the challenges of the pandemic. In fact, true to our mandate, we have been resupplying commodities to health centers in Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Occidental, and Bukidnon notwithstanding logistical difficulties during the quarantine period.”
“We are prepared to help our population offices – the BPVs and BHWs in this enormous task to ensure continued provision of FP services in the localities. Also, to better equip them, we will purchase facemasks, and if our resources will allow us, face shields to our volunteer workers. In this time of crisis, wherein most couples are inside their homes, we cannot afford another challenge of unintended pregnancies in the next coming months. That for sure will result to a new crisis on top of COVID-19,” Director Gupit added.
Meanwhile, a set of guidelines through Memorandum No. 2020-202 was released by POPCOM Central Office last March 25, 2020 in resupplying FP commodities in the local level. The guideline highlights Section 5.03 of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the responsible parenthood and family planning (RPRH) law (RA 10354) which states that appropriately trained BHWs can resupply condoms and oral contraceptive pills in the communities.
The guidelines likewise state that BHWs/BPVs who are less than 55 years old and are physically fit to do the task may be deployed. The BHWs/BPVs shall likewise coordinate with the rural health units (RHUs) to ensure adequate stocks of FP commodities are available.
POPCOM – Region X, alongside the provincial population office of Misamis Oriental, will closely coordinate to efficiently carry-out the undertaking. POPCOM is likewise appealing to the local government units (LGUs) in the region to support the family planning initiatives in whichever capacities to protect couples and individuals against surge of unintended pregnancies and its long term negative effects to the family and community in general.