Indonesia is worried about a baby boom caused by the coronavirus

L’Indonésie s’inquiète d’un baby-boom causé par le coronavirus

With her husband unemployed due to the pandemic, the last thing that Juarsih wanted was to wait for a third child. But she fell pregnant in the midst a health crisis such as many in Indonesia and the country is preparing for a baby boom caused by the pandemic.

The agency of family planning in Indonesia (which has the fourth largest population in the world) is expected to 400, 000 births in additional to the fact of the containment measures that have restricted access to contraception.

Juarsih, an Indonesian of 41 years, is coming to the end of its contraceptives at the time when the hospitals were overwhelmed by patients for the coronavirus, and where the clinics were closing down or cutting back their schedules.

The mother of two teenagers has now scared to go and get a check-up for her pregnancy at a hospital in Bandung, on the island of Java.

“I was in shock when I realized that I was pregnant,” she said.

“I started to feel happy later on, but there is always a background of sadness (…) it happens at a difficult time. “

The use of contraception has “dropped drastically” since the start in march of the epidemic in the archipelago of South-East Asia, confirmed to the AFP Hasto Wardoyo, head of the indonesian planning familial et de la population (BKKBN).

The health authorities fear a surge in abortions or of maternal mortality.

“We are also worried about (the risk) of malnutrition, all families do not have the means to feed the children,” he says.

Mass campaign

With access to hospitals became difficult, the authorities have had to find creative solutions to promote birth control.

Medical teams have traveled from villages in the car to warn him that this was not the right time to start a baby.

“You can have sex. You can get married. But do not become pregnant, ” they proclaimed over a loudspeaker.

“Dads, do you check (…) no sex without contraception “.

Indonesia has put in place a planning policy family from the dictatorship of Suharto there fifty years, which has done much decline in the fertility rate. It is now 2.34 children per woman in the country of around 270 million inhabitants.

This week, a large-scale operation has been launched to distribute contraceptives to a million Indonesians in a day.

Condoms are not popular in Indonesia, and the users of contraceptives are 98 % of women, via hormonal injections or contraceptive pills.

A ” baby corona “

In a clinic in Jakarta on Monday, Rahma, a mother of two children admits half-word, that the containment has given more opportunities to have sex.

“My husband has spent a lot of time at home,” joked she.

“But as I use this program, I don’t have the worry of getting pregnant “.

Yet, many Indonesians are afraid of being infected by going to the hospital. Ratna Dewi Nur Amalia has instead decided to monitor her menstrual cycle to avoid pregnancy.

“I wanted to go to the gynecologist for my contraceptives, but the epidemic has started,” explains the wife of 39 years.

And this ” I’m too scared to go into a hospital.”

There are more than 57 000 people infected by the coronavirus and close to 3000 deaths in Indonesia according to the official statistics, which are very under-estimated due to a number of tests limited.

The budget cuts and decentralization in the archipelago were already making the task of family planning complicated.

“Now, the health staff is too busy with patients for the coronavirus and the control of birth is relegated to the second plan “, laments Kusmana, who heads the planning agency family of West Java.

For Arie Novarina and her husband, a couple who tried for two years to have a child, the containment has rather been a chance.

The Indonesian 38-year-old is pregnant with her first child.

“It may be because we were less tired, healthier, and we spent good moments together at home,” explains the employee of a public company.

“With my husband, we joke saying that we are going to have a baby corona!”.

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