Providing Access to SRH Services Through the Safety Pantry

On May 28, 2021, sixteen (16) Safety Pantries have been launched simultaneously, by the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP) in different locations, as part of the International Day of Action for Women’s Health.

As the Covid19 pandemic continues to affect the lives of Filipinos, FPOP recognizes that people’s access to sexual and reproductive health and rights should be unhampered. The organization aims to extend sexual and reproductive health services and commodities, and other necessities through the FPOP Safety Pantry.

On the Safety Pantry tables, vitamins, condoms, lubes, contraceptive pills, alcohol wipes, sanitary napkins, malunggay supplements (capsule), baby dresses, diapers, and pregnancy and hygiene kits are available. People can also take home biscuits, rice, vegetables, canned goods, noodles, and even face shields and masks. Services on family planning, sexual and gender-based violence prevention, HIV testing and counseling, Hepatitis B screening, implant and IUD insertion, cervical cancer screening, and pre-natal check-up are also available. Standard safety protocols against Covid-19 were observed in the Safety Pantry sites located in:

1. Barangay 32, Tondo, Manila

2. Barangay Silangan, Quezon City

3. Barangay Tandang Sora, Quezon City

4. Baguio Public Market

5. T. Alonzo Street in Baguio City

6. Barangay Panamitan, Kawit in Cavite

7. Barangay Sta. Cruz, Naga in Camarines Sur

8. Sorsogon City

9. Arakan in North Cotabato

10.Barangay Dadiangas in General Santos City

11. Barangay Maimpis in Pampanga

12. Barangay Poblacion, Alaminos in Pangasinan

13. Surigao City

14. Davao City

15. Iloilo City

16. Masbate City

Inspired by the Maginhawa Community Pantry, the items given away came from various donors who support the advocacy the organization pursues. Building on the same idea, FPOP opted to name the initiative Safety Pantry as the word “safety” connotes a message of comfort and is safe and protected against sexually transmitted infection, HIV, unintended pregnancy, and sexual and gender-based violence.

The Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP) is a service-oriented organization providing sexual and reproductive health services to all Filipinos. It has 12 active organization chapters with 17 Community Health Care Clinics offering an integrated package of essential services on family planning and reproductive health.

FPOP is one of the oldest and biggest volunteer organizations in the Philippines. It was founded on August 4, 1969, out of a merger of two organizations that pioneered the family planning movement in the Philippines. It is a member association of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).

Aside from various community activities such as the Safety Pantry, adolescent learning sessions, house-to-house outreach, and reproductive health medical missions, FPOP also provides free online consultation and other SRH services through their hotline called FPOP youRHotline. It can be reached on Facebook: www.facebook.com/yourhotline.ph or mobile number: 0998-988-8826, 8 AM to 10 PM daily.

FPOP Safety Pantry Facebook Live Links:

North Cotabato https://www.facebook.com/ranny.labiaga/videos/3908005145934432/

Cavite https://fb.watch/5M7MSUUoQp/

General Santos City https://www.facebook.com/FPOPSOCCSKSARGENChapter/videos/524482665583544/https://www.facebook.com/FPOPSOCCSKSARGENChapter/videos/2243189549195048/

Surigao
https://www.facebook.com/fpopsurigao1969/videos/1146591945812218/

Brgy. Silangan, QC
https://www.facebook.com/famplan.ph/videos/1411139825932214/

Women’s Rights Groups and Grassroots Organizations Come Together in an Online Rally for Women’s Health

On May 28, the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) and the Philippine Safe Abortion Advocacy Network (PINSAN) led an online rally to amplify demands regarding women’s health amid the pandemic. Attended by a hundred women from various sectors, the rally is in line with the global commemoration of the International Day of Action for Women’s Health with the theme, “Women’s Health Matters: Ending the Inequality Pandemic and Ensuring Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights remain essential!”.

“COVID-19 has impacted us all, but we are not all impacted equally. It exposed and exacerbated long-standing social and gender inequalities that are manifested in many forms across contexts,” according to Marevic Parcon, Executive Director of WGNRR, in her opening remarks.

Screencaps from the online rally show women advocates and their calls related to women’s health

According to Parcon, this year’s campaign focuses on how the pandemic affects women, girls, and non-binary people’s health, especially those in the grassroots communities.

The rally featured interventions from leaders of various basic sector and community-based organizations, representing health workers, women human rights defenders, working women, rural women, indigenous women, urban poor women, and young people.

Flora Assidao-Santos from women’s group Oriang brought out concerns of urban poor women in accessing healthcare. According to Santos, poor women are not entertained in healthcare facilities because they are poor and are not prioritized for local interventions such as pre-natal and post-natal check-ups.

PINSAN spokesperson and EnGendeRights Executive Director, Atty. Clara Rita Padilla also criticized local government units for returning contraceptives to the national government with the “lame excuse” of lack of demand.

“Many poor women may want to use but cannot afford contraceptives. It is the job of the national and local governments to increase awareness on contraceptive information, supplies, and services to generate more demand for contraceptives,” Padilla said.

Poverty (kahirapan), along with fear (pangamba) and [worries over] their children’s futures (kinabukasan ng kabataan), was also cited by women from Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayuan (National Rural Women’s Congress) communities as the biggest barriers to women’s health. Meanwhile, women from Indigenous Peoples communities and those living in the Bangsamoro called for accessible public healthcare services as well as livelihood support.

Dr. Edelina Dela Paz of People’s Health Movement and Health Action Information Network noted how strict lockdown measures are gravely impacting people’s economic needs, as well as their health, as they risk their lives to go outside to work. She also decried militarized responses to the pandemic, citing contract tracing being done by the police instead of health workers. “[The pandemic is a] health issue, not a militarist issue,” she said.

“The online rally has really served to ground our demands this Day of Action for Women’s Health. We cannot view women’s health myopically. There needs to be structural change to address long-time neglect of women’s health and needs,” ED Parcon said in a comment after the forum.

Relevant links:

Watch the May 28 Call for Action video summary at https://www.facebook.com/WGNRR/posts/5838228942868999

Cleaning the House One Space at a Time

Nothing beats the feeling when you tick off an activity on your bucket list. Moms would always ensure the kitchen is clean or everything else in the house is in order. I wish I could be that mom all the time. Sadly, I can only count the days when I’m physically okay. I seize the day when I feel fine at the start of the day.

This our kitchen area. We don’t cook on this side except when using the oven. It’s the “cleanest” appearance yet. If only it stays this clean even after our picture taking for a product campaign is over.

White marble photowall

This is our other project in progress. Thanks to our sponsor for the free photowall. It’s a good background to take pictures. I love the outcome.

These photos serve as motivation for me to pursue home improvement goals one small step at a time.