The Jakarta Post
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has instructed his subordinates to prepare for a possible baby boom in the capital in the next few months as a result of the stay-at-home policy and social restrictions following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s an increase in pregnancies all over the world [due to the pandemic]. We need to prepare to anticipate [a similar situation],” Anies said in a meeting at City Hall on Aug. 7, which was then streamed for the public on the Jakarta administration’s YouTube channel a week later.
In the meeting, Anies told the Jakarta administration’s assistant for public welfare, Catur Laswanto, to collect pregnancy data in the city between March, when the pandemic began to hit Indonesia, and August to estimate the number of beds for deliveries needed in the coming months.
He also instructed relevant officials to get midwives, obstetricians and birthing centers across the capital ready for the possible baby boom. "Ask them to coordinate with us to anticipate the growing birth rate," Anies said.
Separately, the National Population and Family Planning Board (BKKBN) has found that in March, about 10 percent of its beneficiaries faced difficulty in accessing birth control. The BKKBN has 28 million beneficiaries of its family planning methods nationwide.
The one-month decline in contraceptive use could push pregnancies up by 15 percent, or around 420,000 pregnancies, within three months, according to the BKKBN. A further decline is likely to see the number of pregnancies rise by up to 30 percent within another few months.
Indonesia, home to nearly 270 million people, annually welcomes 4.8 million births.
"With the pandemic, the access to contraception has shrunk. Many clinics have shut, while those that remain open limit the number of people they serve," BKKBN chief Hasto Wardoyo said recently, as quoted by The Straits Times.
To anticipate the change, the BKKBN has deployed its family field officers to give out free condoms and contraceptive pills to low-income families. It has also launched a campaign to recruit 1 million new family-planning beneficiaries in June.