Amid population explosion, birth control access roils the Philippines
MARK LITKE: It’s 8 a.m. at the Jose Favella hospital in the Philippine capital, Manila. In the past 12 hours there have been about 40 births, a fairly average night for one of the world’s busiest maternity wards.
DR. SYLVIA DE LA PAZ: As you can see, there’s more patients than there are resources for them.
MARK LITKE: Dr. Silvia de la Paz, the chief obstetrician here, says they manage the crush as best they can. Often putting two beds together as a tandem bed for four mothers and four newborns.
And from these overcrowded hospital wards, out into the teeming slums of the city, it’s easy to see this country is in the midst of a population explosion, what some are calling a crisis. The Philippines today has one of the highest birth rates in Asia with a population that has more than doubled over the last three decades from 45 million to 100 million.
Once the mothers and their newborns leave the maternity hospital, many are going to return to places like, Tondo – this gritty neighborhood right on the edge of Manila. It’s a place where families struggle to get by on $1 or $2 a day at best. Here, very young children scavenge through garbage in search of something to sell for a few dollars to help support their families.