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Petaling Jaya, March 3: A recent survey conducted by Alpro Pharmacy found that unplanned pregnancy is one of the top five concerns amongst women in Malaysia.
However, a quarter of the 1,300 women respondents do not use any contraception and nearly 50 per cent rely on natural family planning or the pull-out method.
With the aim to create awareness around the effective birth control methods, Malaysia’s largest pharmacy chain, Alpro Pharmacy and leading pharmaceutical company in women’s health, Bayer launched the Alpro Birth Control Teleconsult to empower women in making educated decisions on family planning.
Both AlproPharmacy and Bayer are part of United Nations Global Compact, and Alpro Birth Control Teleconsult is a joint initiative that contributes towards Sustainability Development Goal (SDG) three on Good Health and Well-Being as well as 5 on Gender Equality.
“Babies are lovely, however, unplanned pregnancy could cause emotional, mental and physical stress on women. As many are still recovering financially from the prolonged pandemic, coupled with high cost of living, having a baby requires careful advanced planning.
With the changed role of a modern woman, women need to manage their time for education, career as well as building a family. Our Alpro Birth Control Teleconsult connects healthcare professionals and patients remotely and conveniently, providing women with personalised family planning advice on choosing the right contraceptive methods,” Ph Lim En-Ni, Chief Pharmacist of Alpro Pharmacy, at the launch of Alpro Birth Control Teleconsult in Petaling Jaya said.
At the launch event, in advance of the International Women’s Day, Alpro Pharmacy and Bayer held a roundtable discussion on the subject of Women’s Empowerment and Family Planning with panellists including Dr Maiza Tusimin, Consultant Obstetrician, Gynecologist & Reproductive Medicine, Ph Lim En-Ni, Chief Pharmacist of Alpro Pharmacy and Ms Sazzy Falak, Co-Founder of Womentum Life, TV Presenter/Actress.
The event was also attended by Ph Lee Yin Chen, Branding, Promotion and Trade Marketing Director & E-Commerce Lead of Alpro Pharmacy and Yamini Prakash, Country Division Head of Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei.
“Bayer has a long history in women’s health and as a leader in hormonal contraception, we have been supporting family-planning programs for more than 50 years. Besides access to family planning products, self-determined decisions in reproductive health require contraceptive awareness and knowledge. Providing women a safe, personal and comfortable environment to obtain accurate information about their choices in family planning is important to us at Bayer, and going digital is the way forward. We are delighted to collaborate with Alpro Pharmacy which also shares a similar vision and mission to positively educate and empower women on family planning,” Yamini Prakash, Country Division Head, Pharmaceuticals, Singapore, Malaysia & Brunei said.
During the discussion, celebrity Sazzy Falak shared her personal journey as a budding actress awarded with the Best Supporting Actress at the 19th Malaysian Film Festival the same year she got married and proper family planning had help her to build her career in TV and movies, business ventures as well as Womentum Life – an initiative advocated to create awareness of the challenges faced by women especially on the subjects that is considered as taboo topics among our society.
“Sex is considered a taboo subject and contraception is not taught in schools. It is important to have platforms like Alpro Birth Control Teleconsult that give personal attention and professional advice to those who have questions on how to avoid unplanned pregnancy,” Falak said.
Highlights from the Roundtable Discussion
Benefits of good family planning include:
Empowering women – Women who can control the number and timing of their children can take better advantage of educational and economic opportunities, improving their own future and that of their families.
Reducing the number of abortions overall, especially unsafe abortion – According to the World Health Organisation, around 45 per cent of all abortion are unsafe, of which 97 per cent take place in developing countries. Fewer unsafe abortions would lead to fewer maternal deaths and injuries.
Improving maternal health and child survival – Helping women avoid becoming pregnant too early, too late or too often benefits them and their children.
The survey results also revealed that over 20 per cent of the respondents are likely to use Emergency Pills (aka the Morning After Pill) as contraception, which its intended usage is only for backup contraception and not be used as a primary method of birth control. It is not recommended as an ongoing form of birth control because it’s not as effective at preventing pregnancy as birth control methods like oral contraceptive and frequent use of emergency pill may cause periods to become irregular and unpredictable.
Majority of the survey respondents said they did self-search for information online and normally only talk to a healthcare professional if they need to look for advice on contraception. However, women need to be aware of misinformation on the internet and pharmacies generally have longer operation hours compared to clinics and hospitals.
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