Many government health workers along with vehicles in Indonesia began to appear in towns and cities in May to announce "You can have sex. You can get married. But don't get pregnant." The government officials in the Asian country announced it while reading scripts that read, "Dads, please control yourself. You can get married. You can have sex as long as you use contraception."
The announcement may sound extremely weird and could be a topic to laugh about, but the fact is that the officials are concerned about a possible unintended consequence of Indonesia's Coronavirus restrictions.
Worries About the Post-Pandemic Situation
In April, while people across Indonesia stayed at home due to the nationwide restrictions, around 10 million married couples stopped using contraception, revealed the National Population and Family Planning Agency, which collects data from clinics and hospitals that distribute birth control pills.
The agency noted that many Indonesian women failed to get their contraceptives as the healthcare providers were closed due to the pandemic restrictions, while others did not want to risk their health by getting outside their residents. Because of this, the Indonesian government is now expecting a wave of unplanned birth in 2021.
An obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Hasto Wardoyo, who heads the family planning agency have estimated that there could be 370,000 to 500,000 extra births early next year. If a massive amount of childbirth takes place, it will be a disadvantage to the country's effort to promote small families that are required to fight against child malnutrition.
But, this is not the first time the country is making such efforts, Indonesian authorities' involvement in the family planning program dates back to 1970 when it was under the military dictatorship run by President Suharto. At that time soldiers promoted the use of contraception, while army doctors performed vasectomies and tubal obligations.
Indonesia Family Planning
To encourage people for birth control, the government representative distributes free contraceptives to Indonesia's poor, and young married couples of various incomes. The government agency said that half of the country's women who use contraceptives, also receive hormone injections monthly or every three months.
It explains that while condoms are available but unpopular, mostly among the married couples, 20 percent of Indonesia women use birth control pills which they have to collect monthly if they were on government insurance.
But the regular clinic visits have disrupted due to the Coronavirus pandemic, which already killed 2,134 people. While in Jakarta, mosques, malls, and offices have been gradually reopening this month, cases are still rising in other parts of the country, including the provinces of East Java and Papua. As of now, Indonesia has reported more than 38,200 cases.
The Indonesia agency has planned to deliver the contraceptives to women at their residents and to let each one of them obtain more than a month's supply of birth control pills at a time. The government has already started home deliveries along with the emergency food supplies, which many families were receiving due to the Coronavirus pandemic restrictions.