PHO records showed that from 1,046 teenage pregnancies in 2017, it spiraled down to 549 cases or a drop of almost 50 percent in 2018. and further down to 239 cases in 2019.
Provincial Health Office Medical Health Officer III Dr. Antonette Agpas during an online forum on Adolescent Reproductive Health said teenage pregnancy is multi-factorial such that its decrease cannot be attributed to only one intervention.
“We cannot directly attribute the drop in the number of cases to our interventions but we did have interventions for awareness to the youth, capacitation of service providers in health and education. These are what we can say interventions that we have provided,” Agpas said.
In 2013 when the Young Adult Fertility Survey showed that the Cordillera region had the highest teenage pregnancy cases, it was an eye-opener which the PHO together with its partners, the Department of Health and Commission on Population, initiated programs and advocacy efforts focused on teenage pregnancy. These were implemented in schools and local government units at the provincial and municipal levels, she informed.
Through their advocacy, adolescent friendly facilities were established in the municipalities including hospitals which now cater to more adolescents. With the establishment of the exclusive facility, it has removed the stigma among teenagers being combined with adults in sharing their concerns, Agpas said.
Although each municipality has established its own adolescent friendly facility, based on DOH standards, only Kibungan reached level I criteria such as documentary requirements, set-up, room, designation of a trained personnel, information and education materials, among other protocols.
Teen centers were also established in schools while peer educators were trained to talk to their peers in schools. If there is a need for counseling they are referred to their teachers who were also trained on counselling skills. This intervention was found effective, according to Agpas
The establishment of teen centers was initially piloted in Mankayan but has expanded to other schools in other towns.
Agpas said a multi-sectoral involvement is needed not only among the health and education sector to come up with a wholistic approach in dealing with issues and concerns in teenage pregnancy, (JDP/SCA-PIA-CAR, Benguet)
By Susan C. Aro