Teenage pregnancy down in Davao Region during pandemic

The Davao Region. Map courtesy of Google

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 09 December) – Teenage pregnancy slightly declined in Davao Region during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission on Population (PopCom) said on Friday.

Sheryl Fernandez, regional information officer of PopCom-Davao, said during the Kapihan sa Philippine Information Agency on Friday that data from the Reproductive Health Information System of the Department of Health registered 9,500 live births by mothers aged 10 to 19 years old.

This is a 20-percent decrease from the 11,900 reported in the 2020, she said.

But Fernandez said that despite the decrease pregnancies remain prevalent among teenagers, the youngest in the region being 11 years old.

“We are strengthening our comprehensive sexuality education through which we train and capacitate in-school service providers and adolescent reproductive health coordinators on how to handle these concerns,” she said.

She said the parents have the primary responsibility of educating and instilling values in their children.

She cited that prevalence of teenage pregnancy is an interplay of different factors, including peer influence, social media access, and even family.

“That’s why, we are educating the parents about the importance of instilling values and helping adolescents make informed responsible decisions regarding their sexuality,” she said.

She said the establishment of teen centers in various communities, health centers, barangay halls and schools would help resolve the problem to give the adolescents safe spaces to raise any concerns regarding their sexual health or educate them about reproductive health.

“In our talks with the partner, there is hesitancy among our adolescents to approach our health centers because they fear of being judged or bullied. So, it’s really important that we have a facility solely catering to our teens, if ever they need accurate information or their services,” she said.

She said PopCom-Davao is strengthening its campaign to educate not only the youth but also the parents to address teenage pregnancy.

Through former President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s Executive Order 141 “Adopting as a national priority the implementation of measures to address the root causes of the rising number of teenage pregnancies, and mobilizing government agencies,” she said government agencies such as DOH, Department of Education, Sangguniang Kabataan, and National youth Commission are tasked to develop programs and interventions to address the prevalence of teenage pregnancy.

She said these agencies collaborate in capacitating the local government units in educating their constituents and in developing programs to lower the number of adolescents getting pregnant.

She said there are a total of 145 teen centers established around the region. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)