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.
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.
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.
When summer comes to mind, we usually focus on picnics, days lounging on the beach, and tasty iced drinks. Nevertheless, hot weather has a gnarly side too. We are talking about the real dog days of summer, when intense heat and humidity make it impossible to sit comfortably, let alone sleep through the night.
The obvious solution for cool, calm, and REM-ful sleeping is an air conditioner: These modern gizmos can keep a bedroom at the optimum sleep temperature (roughly between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit), plus provide some nice white noise to boot. However, even small window units use up tons of energy and jack up monthly electric bills. So what is an environmentally responsible, budget-conscious sleeper to do?
Living through a hot summer without AC seems impossible but, hey, our grandparents did it all the time! Turns out, they learned a few things in the process. Read on for some tried and true DIY strategies for staying cool on hot nights.
Cool as a Cucumber—How to Beat the Heat
1. Choose cotton.
Save the ooh-la-la satin, silk, or polyester sheets for cooler nights. Light-colored bed linens made of lightweight cotton (Egyptian or otherwise) are breathable and excellent for promoting ventilation and airflow in the bedroom.
2. Feel the freezer burn.
Stick sheets in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes before bed. We recommend placing them in a plastic bag first (unless eu de frozen pizza is your fave aromatherapy scent). Granted, this will not keep you cool all night, but it will provide a brief respite from heat and humidity.
3. Get cold comfort.
Here is a four-season tip for keeping utilities charges down: Buy a hot water bottle. In winter, fill it with boiling water for toasty toes without cranking the thermostat. During summer, stick it in the freezer to create a bed-friendly ice pack.
4. Be creative.
If you thought fans are just for blowing hot air around, think again! Point box fans out the windows so they push hot air out, and adjust ceiling fan settings so the blades run counter-clockwise, pulling hot air up and out instead of just twirling it around the room.
5. Sleep like an Egyptian.
If there seem to be a lot of Egyptian references in this list, it is because those Nile-dwellers knew how to do it right. The so-called “Egyptian method” involves dampening a sheet or towel in cool water and using it as a blanket. We recommend laying the damp sheets on top of a dry towel to avoid soaking the mattress.
6. Get loose.
Less is definitely more when it comes to summertime jammies. Pick a loose, soft cotton shirt and shorts or underwear. Going full nudie during a heat wave is (unsurprisingly) controversial. Some people believe it helps keep them cool, while others claim going au natural means sweat stays on the body instead of being wicked away by fabric. We are going to chalk this one up to personal preference.
7. Go old school
Remember when refrigerators were iceboxes that contained actual blocks of ice? Us neither. This stay-cool trick is straight out of the icebox era, though. Make a DIY air conditioner by positioning a shallow pan or bowl (a roasting pan works nicely) full of ice in front of a fan. The breeze will pick up cold water from the ice’s surface as it melts, creating a cooling mist.
8. Create a cross-breeze.
In this case, hanging out in the cross hairs is a good idea. Position a fan across from a window, so the wind from outside and the fan combine in a cooling cross-breeze. Feeling fancy? Go buck-wild and set up multiple fans throughout the room to make the airflow even more boisterous.
9. Pamper your pulses.
Need to cool down, stat? To chill out super-fast, apply ice packs or cold compresses to pulse points at the wrists, neck, elbows, groin, ankles, and behind the knees.
10. Get tech-y.
We cannot vouch for its effectiveness, but the chillow—a high-tech pad that stays cool through water circulation—seems like a genius idea.
11. Be a lone wolf.
Sorry love bugs, but sleeping alone is much better than spooning for staying cool. Cuddling with a partner increases body heat, making the bed a sticky, sweaty pit of despair instead of a cool, calm oasis.
12. Release your inner Tarzan.
Feeling ambitious (or just really, hot)? Rig up a hammock or set up a simple cot. Both types of beds are suspended on all sides, which increases airflow.
13. Fill up the tank.
Get a leg up on hydration by drinking a glass of water before bed. Tossing, turning, and sweating at night can result in dehydration, so get some H20 in the tank beforehand. (Pro tip: Just eight ounces will do the trick, unless you are really into those 3 a.m. bathroom runs.)
14. Cool off.
A cold shower takes on a completely new meaning come summertime. Rinsing off under a stream of tepid H20 brings down the core body temperature and rinses off sweat (ick) so you can hit the hay feeling cool and clean.
15. Get low.
Hot air rises, so set up your bed, hammock, or cot as close to the ground as possible to beat the heat. In a one-story home, that means hauling the mattress down from a sleeping loft or high bed and putting it on the floor. If you live in a multi-floor house or apartment, sleep on the ground floor or in the basement instead of an upper story.
16. Turn off the lights.
This tip is self-explanatory. Light bulbs (even environmentally friendly CFLs) give off heat. Fortunately, summer means it stays light until eight or nine at night. Take advantage of natural light as much as possible, and keep rooms cool after dark by using lights minimally or not at all (romantic candle-lit dinner, anyone?).
17. Hang out.
Cool down a whole room by hanging a wet sheet in front of an open window. The breeze blowing in will quickly bring down the room’s temperature.
18. Stay away from the stove.
Summer is not the time to whip up a piping hot casserole or roast chicken. Instead, chow down on cool, room-temperature dishes (salads are clutch) to avoid generating any more heat in the house. If hot food is in order, fire up the grill instead of turning on the oven. In addition, swap big meals for smaller, lighter dinners that are easier to metabolize. The body produces more heat after you chow down on a huge steak than a platter of fruits, veggies, and legumes.
19. Encourage cold feet.
Those ten little piggies are sensitive to temperature because there are many pulse points in the feet and ankles. Cool down the whole body by dunking (clean!) feet in cold water before hitting the hay. Better yet, keep a bucket of water near the bed and dip feet whenever you are feeling hot throughout the night.
20. Unplug at night.
As in, literally disconnect electronics. Gadgets and other small appliances give off heat, even when turned off. Reduce total heat in the house (and save energy!) by keeping plugs out of sockets when the appliances are not in use.
21. Camp at home.
Got access to a safe outdoor space like a roof, courtyard, or backyard? Practice those camping skills (and stay cooler) by pitching a tent and sleeping al fresco.
22. Hog the bed.
Sleeping alone (see No. 11 above) has its benefits, including plenty of space to stretch out. Snoozing in spread eagle position (i.e. with arms and legs not touching each other) is best for reducing body heat and letting air circulate around the body. Hit the hay in this sleep position to keep limbs from getting crazy sweaty.
23. Go rustic.
When temperatures soar, trade in that extra-comfy mattress for a minimalist straw or bamboo mat. These all-natural sleeping surfaces are less comfortable, but they do not retain heat like a puffy, cloth-covered mattress.
24. Get creative with grains.
Rice and buckwheat are not just for eating! These cupboard staples can also keep you cool on hot nights. Stock up on buckwheat pillows, which do not absorb heat like cotton and down. Moreover, for a cold compress on hot nights, fill a sock with rice, tie it off, and stick it in the freezer for an hour or so. The compress will stay chilly for up to 30 minutes, definitely enough time to nod off.