POPCOM-8 assesses demographic vulnerability of communities to COVID-19
TACLOBAN CITY, June 3 (PIA) — The Commission on Population and Development – Regional Office 8 (POPCOM-8) has started the assessment of demographic vulnerability of communities to COVID-19, which is aimed at providing additional information and technical guidance to national and local agencies through demographic variables.
The assessment is significant in the planning, implementation and monitoring of pandemic response at various levels.
During the Regional Population Executive Board (RPEB) meeting held on May 29 in Tacloban City, it was learned that the demographic vulnerability pertains to the demographic characteristics of population that may cause or enhance the exposure or possibility of individuals to be infected with the communicable disease.
The vulnerability assessment used demographic tables, included key indicators such as population density, household size and density, number of senior citizens and their living arrangement and, localities with demographic vulnerability.
Ms. Linsie Arteche of POPCOM said, “Through this tool, priority groups and areas for relief operations are determined, as well as the type and quantity of the needed support. Proper location of quarantine sites is likewise identified.”
The undertaking, Arteched said, is premised on the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2020-01 or “Assessing the Demographic Vulnerabilities of Communities and Households to COVID-19 Infections in Planning and Implementing Efficient Pandemic Response at the Local and Community Levels.”
Issued last April 17, 2020, the JMC was signed by Secretaries Francisco Duque of the Department of Health (DOH), Eduardo Año of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Ernesto Pernia of the Socio-Economic Planning and the Executive Director of the Commission on Population and Development, Juan Antonio Perez III.
In the Eastern Visayas region, said activity was already piloted in Taranganan, Samar where local community transmission of COVID-19 has been noted.
The data obtained from the said community would help track the spread of cases over time and evaluate the effectivity of precautionary measures specifically social distancing. Through the database, the local government unit could also consider the working age population and the employment rate in the areas as a means to reduce demographic vulnerabilities should quarantine restrictions be lifted.
The database obtained from the Tarangnan case will be shared to other local government units for adoption during calamities or pandemics.
Meanwhile, POPCOM 8 has set-up and operationalized the Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning (RPFP)/COVID-19 Helpline, according to its Information Officer Ryan Arinto.
This, he said, is to ensure continuous access and provision of family planning information and services. The helpline will serve as a link for clients who seek information on family planning concerns, as well as information related to COVID-19. The helpline is operational at least eight hours a day, and hotlines are posted in conspicuous places for public awareness.
“The helpline was conceptualized since the delivery of family planning information and services were interrupted due to the declaration of national health emergency and the implementation of community quarantine in almost all the localities of the country because of COVID-19. Said situation could result to higher unmet need for modern family planning and subsequently, unintended pregnancies,” he added. (LDL/GTT/PIA-Leyte)