Pandemic-fuelled baby boom has many Indonesians worried

first_imgWith her husband left jobless by the pandemic, the last thing Indonesian mother Juarsih needed was to get pregnant, but now she’s expecting a third child — one of many in the country anxiously preparing for a COVID-fuelled baby boom.Indonesian authorities believe there could be 400,000 more births than usual next year as lockdowns keep couples at home and cut access to contraception, prompting fears of an increase in abortions and stunting of children in poorer families. Juarsih, 41, says her birth control ran out as clinics closed or slashed hours and overwhelmed hospitals struggled to keep up with mounting coronavirus infections in the world’s fourth most populous country. The mother of two teenagers is now too scared of the deadly respiratory disease to risk going out for a pregnancy checkup in her hometown Bandung, on Java island.”At first I was shocked when I found out that I was pregnant,” she said.”I started feeling happy later although there’s still some sadness… I should be grateful but this is happening at a difficult time.”Contraception use has “dropped drastically” since the pandemic took hold across the sprawling archipelago in early March, Hasto Wardoyo, head of Indonesia’s national population and family planning board, told AFP. ‘Corona baby’ At a health clinic in the capital Jakarta Monday, mother-of-two Rahma took advantage of the handouts, admitting that there was more romance in her household since the virus struck.”My husband has spent a lot more time at home,” she laughed.”But since I’m using this program I’m not worried about having more babies.”Still, infection fears are keeping many at home like Ratna Dewi Nur Amalia, who has decided to rely on charting her menstrual cycle in the hopes of avoiding pregnancy.”I wanted to go to the gynecologist for my birth control, but then the pandemic happened,” said the 39-year-old Amalia.”I’m too scared to go anywhere near a hospital.”Nearly 3,000 people have died of COVID-19 in Indonesia, according to an official tally, but independent researchers say the real toll could be several times higher.Budget cuts and a decentralized political structure across the huge country already made it tough to educate the public about family planning.”Now health workers are too busy focusing on handling corona patients so birth-control services have been pushed aside,” said Kusmana, the head of West Java’s family planning agency, who goes by one name.But the pandemic’s work-from-home orders were an unexpected blessing for Arie Novarina and her husband after the busy couple’s nearly two years of fruitless efforts to conceive. The 38-year-old is now pregnant with her first child.”Maybe it was because we were healthier and not exhausted anymore, and we had lots of quality time together at home,” said Novarina, a state-owned firm employee.”My husband and I joke that this is a corona baby.” ‘Dads, please control yourself’ With access to hospitals and contraceptives difficult, health authorities have been forced to get creative.One campaign saw health workers in government vehicles rolling through communities to announce that now wasn’t the time to have a baby.”You can have sex,” one message blared out as workers trundled through a village.”You can get married. But don’t get pregnant.” “Dads, please control yourself… You can have sex as long as you use contraception.”Birth control has been a key plank of a family planning push launched by Indonesia’s late dictator Suharto half a century ago. The program was later applauded for population control measures that saw in a big drop in the then developing nation’s fertility rates.This week authorities launched a one-day blitz that aimed to give away contraceptives to one million citizens.Condoms are not popular in Indonesia, where some 98 percent of contraceptive users are women, mainly of hormone injections and birth-control pills.The family planning agency also enlisted the help of celebrities with huge social media followings to get the word out to the country’s nearly 270 million people.center_img Health authorities are worried increasing numbers of expectant parents will turn to abortions and push up maternal mortality rates.”We’re also worried about stunting — not all families can afford proper nutrition,” he said. Topics :last_img read more

Fast trip to Iowa helps put Ward in victory lane at Michigan’s I-96

first_imgA.J. Ward was the $1,500 IMCA Modified feature winner Friday night at I-96 Speedway. (Photo by Becky Herrington)LAKE ODESSA, Mich. (May 12) – A fast trip to Iowa earlier in the week helped put A.J. Ward in victory lane Friday back in his home state of Michigan.After a wreck left his car totaled, the defending Dirt Works Eastern Region champion went on line to find a new IMCA Modified ride. Adam Larson’s 2015 BMS caught his eye, the deal went down Tuesday and Ward picked the up the car on Wednesday.After a long day and a half in the shop, Ward was off to I-96 Speedway, where he got the best of Gary VanderMark in a back-and-forth battle for the $1,500 checkers Friday night.“We had half an hour to scale the car. We loaded up at 7 p.m. and missed hot laps, but we won the heat by a straightaway. That was our hot laps,” he said. “We made a couple adjustments, then drove the heck out of the car and ended up in victory lane.”Ward started the 20-lapper from fourth and was in the lead by lap six.VanderMark wouldn’t let Ward get away after a late caution. They’d swap the front spot numerous times over the final five circuits before Ward was able to get a three car-length advantage at the end.Mitchell Hunt, Shannon Fisk and Johnny DeYoung completed the top five.The victory was Ward’s career 66th in the division and second this season. Five of his 24 wins last season came at Lake Odessa.Feature results – 1. A.J. Ward; 2. Gary VanderMark; 3. Mitchell Hunt; 4. Shannon Fisk; 5. Johnny DeYoung; 6. Brenton DeYoung; 7. Cody Johnson; 8. Calvin Stemler; 9. Chad May; 10. Nick Stormzand; 11. Austin Wonch; 12. Chad Maurer; 13. Mark Davis; 14. Myron DeYoung; 15. Lucas Krick; 16. Timmy Near; 17. Mickey Carman Jr.; 18. Aaron Atkinson; 19. Troy Ziegler.last_img read more

Darlene (Freeland) Meyer, 84

first_imgDarlene (Freeland) Meyer, 84 of Greensburg passed away on May 29, 2020 in her home of natural causes with loved ones by her side. Born April 4, 1936 in Batesville, Indiana, she was next to youngest of 5 children of Walter and Amelia Freeland. Darlene graduated from the Oldenburg Academy of the Immaculate Conception.Darlene married her high school sweetheart, Leon Meyer, on January 26, 1957, moved to Greensburg, and together they raised 3 children, Greg, Christy and Suzie. She was a loving and devoted mother, grandmother and wife. Darlene was a talented cook and enjoyed entertaining family and friends. She also enjoyed growing flowers, crafting, sewing and watching her hummingbirds out her kitchen window. She was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Adams Fire Department Auxiliary. Darlene was a Retail Manager for many years in Greensburg.Darlene is survived by husband Leon Meyer, and daughters Christy (Mike) Bokelman of Greensburg, and Suzanne (Paul) Ritter of Indianapolis; grandchildren Jennifer (Jason) Stiemann, Ashley (Josh) Snapp, David Bokelman, Abby Bokelman and Lily Ritter; Great-grandchildren Taylah (Thomas) Weber, Cathan Stiemann, Rowan Stiemann, Ryan Rutherford, Carter Rutherford and Ellie Snapp.Darlene was preceded in death by her son Greg Meyer, parents, and siblings, Louise (Bob) Hammerle, Walter (Dolores) Freeland, Leroy Freeland, and Jeanne (Dan) Duvelius.A private service will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church with Father John Meyer officiating. Online condolences may be made at www.gilliland-howe.com.Memorial contributions can be made to Hospice of Indiana.last_img read more