“The thrust of the government is to ensure that all adolescents have access to comprehensive health care and services in an adolescent-friendly environment,” Vince Ingen, AHDP coordinator, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview.
He said municipal level strategic plans will be done and hopefully backed by ordinances to give teeth to the measure, which have been identified as possible solutions to the youth's problems.
He said that in several workshops conducted in the different Cordillera provinces, youth participants in the AHDP technical working group were able to gather inputs that will allow the agency stakeholders on youth welfare to determine issues and problems and come up with possible solutions.
Members and officers of the Sangguniang Kabataan were the participants in the workshop.
Ingen said teenage pregnancy, depression, human immuno virus (HIV), violence, physical injuries, substance abuse and alcohol use were among the problems identified by the workshop participants, which are common problems besetting the sector in the region.
Among the suggestions that emanated from the participants included the conduct of a parent-child seminar by the local government units on the topic of contraceptives and sex education to allow both to learn and for the parents to provide proper guidance to their children.
“This should be especially done in rural areas where there is limited knowledge and supply of contraceptives,” Ingen said.
During the forums conducted in the provinces of Apayao, Kalinga, Ifugao, Mountain Province, and Benguet including Baguio, participants suggested that there will also be strict implementation of the ordinances at the local government unit, provision for free contraceptives, and setting up of free clinics and health stations that will cater to the sector.
“We will prioritize the sexual and reproductive health needs of youth at the earliest opportunity in a crisis to protect young people from sexual violence, sexually transmitted diseases and early pregnancy,” Ingen said.
A monitoring system will be put in place to see to the implementation of the programs geared towards addressing the issues.
The Technical Working Group (TWG), together with the ADHP, will be in-charge with the monitoring of strategic planning based on local plans, technical assistance of field implementers, networking and resource mobilization, research and development agenda setting, Reporting and Information sharing of lessons learned and good practices.
He said the drafting of the municipal health system technical road map intends to provide mechanism to objectively monitor the progress of the local health system in terms of adolescent health and development.
There will also be a support group that will localize planning based on implementing and monitoring of prioritized programs, projects and activities (PPA), networking and resource mobilization and documentation and reporting of field experiences.
Ingen added that agency heads and representatives present during the workshops vowed to make their programs and activities for the next three years aligned to address the identified issues.
Ingen explained that the workshops were done in the whole region, with the sector themselves as participants to get the real score of the situation besetting the reproductive health of the youth vis-a-vis the experiences that will allow government agencies to properly handle the situation. (PNA)
By Pamela Mariz Geminiano