More than contraceptives | Inquirer Opinion
At Large

More than contraceptives

/ 05:30 AM November 17, 2017

It’s more than ironic that about five years after the signing into law of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act, it has yet to be implemented fully. This is because in June 2015, the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order preventing public health centers and hospitals from buying, distributing or promoting certain forms of contraceptives.

Significant then is the recent declaration of the Food and Drug Administration that 51 family planning products submitted for accreditation are “medically safe and nonabortifacient.” Among the approved contraceptives are the subdermal implants Implanon and Implanon NXT, which had triggered the petition of a “prolife” group that led to the TRO.


Dr. Juan Perez, executive director of the Population Commission, said it appreciates “the diligence of the FDA in completing and approving the recertification of 51 contraceptives.” The FDA action, he said, “could not have come at a better time as depleted contraceptive supplies will be augmented by over 200,000 implants,” adding that about one million women a year become new acceptors of modern family planning methods. Studies show that before the TRO, implants that provide protection for up to three years were becoming increasingly popular among users, though the pill remains the most popular method.

“With a major barrier to our family planning program removed,” said Ben de Leon, executive director of the NGO The Forum for Population and Development, “we can now assure that every Filipino of reproductive age is provided with a whole range of quality family planning products and services that are effective, medically safe and nonabortifacient.”


The group also lauded the efforts of the national government, in particular President Duterte and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.

But while the lifting of the TRO ushers in good news, making contraceptives available to so many men and women who need and want them, problems need to be addressed before Filipinos’ RH needs are fully and efficiently met.

Dr. Esperanza Cabral, a former health secretary and current head of the National Implementation Team of the RPRH Law, says serious problems remain with the country’s “fragmented health system.” Under devolution, the delivery of health services falls under local governments, not all of which are headed by mayors or governors who believe in family planning or are willing to allot the needed budgets.

In an earlier interview, Cabral also cited the serious lack of health personnel, with many doctors, nurses and midwives preferring to practice abroad or in urban areas while the real need is most felt in the provinces.

In other words, it’s not just contraceptives. We need to have more health workers, better facilities, more supportive policies, and a greater push for family planning to create happier families of the size that is right for every couple.

It has become almost a coming-of-age ritual among modern teens or younger.

Teeth are not always straight or aligned perfectly; they can lead to unsightly over- or underbites. Misaligned teeth can also lead to more serious complications, like abscesses, gum infections and tooth decay, mouth sores and improper chewing. This is why for many teens a trip to the dentist to have braces installed has become a routine, if somewhat inconvenient and even painful, procedure.


Now those dreaded days are over, with the introduction of new technologies that make creating the “perfect smile” a breeze. Gone are the days of bleeding gums, unrelenting pressure on teeth due to the use of ugly metal braces, and neglected dental care. There’s “Invisalign,” plastic clear aligners that are custom-made for each patient.

A guest at a recent “Bulong Pulungan sa Sofitel” was Dr. Joyce Michelle Ambray, whose Dentaderm Clinic provides “Invisalign” to those in need of teeth straightening. It is also the first in the country to use the iTero Digital Scanning System, creating “fast, precise 3D digital images” that make it possible for dentists to “map out a precise treatment plan.”

Dentaderm is based at Fort Legend Tower in BGC.

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TAGS: contraceptives, reproductive health, responsible parenthood
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