Teen pregnancy in Davao up 2.3% in 7 years

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/26 May) — Teenage pregnancy rate in the city has increased by 2.3% since 2007, according to the City Health Office.

CHO population control officer Jeff Fuentes said Monday that the figure translates to at least 1,000 teenaged girls becoming young parents since 2007.

Fuentes said that due to the high-risk nature of teenage pregnancy it is a concern for the city.

According to the City Investment Plan for Health (CIPH), the teenage pregnancy rate in 2007 was 12%, and 13.4% in 2010.

The CIPH document said the city should aim for the improvement of maternal health outcomes by reducing the prevalence of teenage births from 13.4% in 2010 to 7% in 2016.

The document said teenage pregnancy rates in the city were “below the national standards.”

Fuentes attributed the cases to a lack of awareness of government support regarding reproductive health.

Meanwhile, Fuentes said the CHO is asking the city council to review ordinances such as the Women’s Code to see if local laws are consistent with the Reproductive Health Law.

In an interview Monday, the CHO official said they are asking the Integrated Gender and Development Division and the council to compare the existing RH Law with the city’s local ordinances so that the agency can adapt to the new measures if need be.

“We need to review the law so that existing provisions can be strengthened,” Fuentes said.

He said there should be greater access to commodities such as contraceptives in barangay health centers.

“Some teenagers don’t know that they will not be judged if they ask questions to barangay health workers regarding their reproductive health,” he said, adding he was hopeful the laws would be consolidated soon.

In a statement, the Reproductive Health Network, a group of government and non-government organization advocates, said they were “seizing the moment” to remind officials to appropriate the right amounts from the annual development budget and official development assistance fund for the law’s implementation.

The group added that efforts by institutions such as the Brokenshire Women’s Center, the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines, and the Ateneo de Davao University’s Natural Family Planning Center should be “upscaled and replicated” by public and private health facilities. (MindaNews)