Fertility, sex, and reproductive health dynamics after Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban North, Philippines

Ladylyn Lim Mangada, Ginbert Permejo Cuaton

Abstract


This exploratory research aims to contribute to the growing body of critical literature investigating the 2013 Typhoon Yolanda disaster as a social phenomenon. Anchored on a convergent mixed methods research design, we gathered official government statistical data and primary data obtained through qualitative interviews with 20 couple-informants in two permanent resettlement sites in Tacloban North from 2016–2018. We also collected inputs from other stakeholders, such as local government workers, public physicians, and community and humanitarian workers, to explore the impacts of Yolanda on couples’ sexual experiences and women’s reproductive health (RH). The first section examined fertility rates in Tacloban City using demographic data, i.e., vital registry data and official population census data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) for 1990–2019. Results indicate no evidence of a “fertility spike” or peculiar and irregular fertility increase a few years after Typhoon Yolanda. The second and third sections respectively analyzed the sexual experiences of couples and women’s experiences related to reproductive healthcare products and services during and after the typhoon in Tacloban North. We argue that understanding and addressing the sources of challenges related to sexual and reproductive health (SRH)—along with the other social, physical, psychological, and economic aspirations and needs of resettled residents in Tacloban North—is the first step to improve their overall standard of living. We encourage other social science researchers in and beyond Eastern Visayas to expound on the narratives and analyses offered in this exploratory paper to better document and interrogate the specific dynamics among and beyond the identified themes of couples’ sexual experiences and women’s RH in the communities affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

Keywords


Yolanda, disaster, Tacloban, sexual and reproductive health, women, couples

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