With the COVID-19 being a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, authorities have implemented strict measures to contain the outbreak. The pandemicpushed countries to order lockdowns and implement strict measures to help prevent its spread. In Region I, all provinces except Pangasinan have already transitioned from enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to general community quarantine (GCQ) starting May 1, 2020. Mandatory staying at home for the young people, senior citizens,and people who have high health risk,physicaldistancing, prohibition of mass gatherings, and partial operation of schools(higher education)and businesses were observed in GCQ.
Due to thislimited mobility, access and delivery of family planning (FP) information and services maybe interrupted which can lead to higher unintended pregnancy.In addition, the GCQ/ECQ may also initiategender-based violence and also provides longer exposure of adolescents to misinformation about their sexualitywhich may pose a risk on their overall development.
To address this concern, the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM)launchesthe COVID-19 Helpline,a mechanism that ensurescontinuous access and provision of information and serviceson Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning(RPFP); Adolescent Health and Development(AHD); and other reproductive health concerns such as, but not limited togender-based violence, maternal health, men’s involvement, and other sexual health concerns. The helpline isestablished and operationalized in all the regions and servesas a link for clients to seek information on FP, AHD, COVID-19, and other reproductive health concerns.
In addition, the helpline shall alsotimely assist or refer clients to appropriate service delivery points or facilities ordirectly to service providers,and toreceive clients’ reports and complaints in relation to RPFP service delivery and other population-related technical and administrative issues and endorse/refer the same to proper offices or agencies.
The helpline shall support the public or community health centers and health service providers to ensure the continuous supply of information and services especially among those who need them most.
The public may reachthe POPCOM Helpline through these various platforms such as the social media(Facebookpage –Commission on Population and Development –Region 1), telephone(072-607-3334), and mobile phones(Smart-09125253464/Globe-09957395142).
The helpline will beoperationalizedfrom Monday to Friday (8:00am-5:00pm) and shall be adjusted based on the number of callsor messagesreceivedto ensure greater access by the public particularly those needing the services. POPCOM recognizes that everyone is important thus measures to maintain an overall good health are being ensured and implemented.(POPCOM-I)