The Influence of Local Policy on Contraceptive Provision and Use in Three Locales in the Philippines
Posted: 3 Feb 2010
Date Written: January 28, 2010
The Philippines has a family planning programme, but modern contraceptive prevalence has been moderate. Among low-income women, fewer are using modern methods, resulting in a fertility rate among them of 5.9. This limited use is due to lack of consistent national and local government support for modern methods because of religious opposition. Following devolution of responsibility for health services to local government in 1991, three local leaders – in Laguna Province and the cities of Manila and Puerto Princesa – passed anti-modern contraceptive policies. This paper analyses the status and impact of these policies, using information from interviews with local government officials and family planning officers, published data and studies, and accounts in national newspapers. In Laguna Province and Puerto Princesa, the policies were ineffectually implemented or short-lived. The strictly-enforced Manila law, however, has severely disrupted the city's provision of free contraception to and method use by low-income women. The great majority of Filipinos (89%) approve of modern contraceptives. There is an urgent need to improve low-income women's access to modern contraceptives through itinerant and community-based distribution, especially in poor neighbourhoods in Manila, but also throughout the country. Strategies for increasing local government support for and provision of modern methods are also needed.
Keywords: Contraception, Family Planning Services, Devolution, Unmet Need, Health Policy and Programmes, Philippines
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