Free consultations and teen-centered medical services launched in a hospital program

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/08 September) — Seeing the need to create an “adolescent friendly atmosphere” in hospitals, the Brokenshire Memorial Hospital launched this month an integrated program that specifically looks into teen health and concerns.

The Brokenshire Hospital Program for Teens highlights services for teenagers who, according to their data, are most vulnerable to health risks but are too intimidated to seek professional help.

The program features a dedicated hotline (0925-TEEN-BWC or 0925-833-6-292) that teens can call anytime of the day.

“An obstetrics and gynaecology resident will be available to speak with teens 24/7 through the hotline,” program head Dr. Tessa Bonguyan said, noting that young people prefer to communicate through technology rather than through face to face interactions.

Bonguyan, nevertheless, encouraged teens to seek professional help in medical establishments when it comes to concerns regarding health.

The same program, she said, emphasizes the host of medical services (from consultations, risk assessments, and anticipatory guidance) that bring together experts from the whole hospital—from the ob/gyn, pedia, family medicine, surgery, and internal medicine.

This need for a tailored medical program for teens was brought about by the Brokenshire Woman Center (BWC)—the hospital’s department that focuses on women’s health, obstetrics and gynecology—after it saw an alarming increase in teenage pregnancy rates.

According to an in-house census, since mid-last year, there was a rise in teenage pregnancy cases in the hospital from two percent to four.

This program, which aims to reach out to teenagers (10-19 years old) is manned by 32 personnel from a core group comprising nurses, midwives, and doctors. Through the BWC, free consultations are also made available for teens on weekdays from 8 AM to 5 PM.

Through the program, Bonguyan hopes that more teenagers will have access to medical services and information and be more equipped to keep themselves safe from the risks of smoking, alcohol intake, and unsafe sexual activities.

The program also covers special packages for teens, spiritual counseling, and information campaigns on violence against women and children.

The importance of looking into teenage health, according to Bonguyan, lies in the growing number of their population (comprising to about a third’s of the country).

“Their health and welfare is a public concern,” she said. “They have to acquire full knowledge on growth changes and maturity, self-esteem and healthy relationship with parents, and analytical and firm decision making.”

Bonguyan made it clear that they will not, in anyway, reprimand teenagers. The program designs their services to be oriented in a way that educates and communicates to teens.

This offsets the regular practices of hospitals where parents often talk to doctors in behalf of their children when seeking medical help. She said that through the program, they want to put focus on the actual primary patient who is the teenager.

The program evolved from the BWC, led by Dr. Darleen S. Estuart, whose staff actively engage in health workshops. After participating in an adolescent job and manual workshop by the Department of Health, Bonguyan said that they established a center for teens last January.

This eventually developed into a holistic program that is integrated with the hospital’s services and also covers teen concerns like home environment, suicide, drugs and alcohol, and sex and reproductive health. (Jesse Pizarro Boga/MindaNews)