POPCOM – CAR Regional Director Magdalena Abellera, in a Kapihan media forum here, affirmed that as women continue to face reproductive health concerns, the (COVID – 19) pandemic has somehow aggravated such concern especially on the issue of teenage pregnancy.
Based on the Field Health Services Information System (FHSIS), teenage pregnancy or live birth among 10 – 19 years old in Cordillera significantly decreased from the 3,025 recorded cases in 2018 to 1,654 cases in 2019.But during the COVID-19 pandemic, it increased again to 2,422 cases in 2020 or up by 46.43 percent.
Abellera said the teenage pregnancies recorded in the region included 10 -14 years old giving birth with six in 2019 and eight in 2020. Notwithstanding the numbers or increase in cases, we have to look into its effect to their development and future, as they are still children, she stressed.
The government is exerting efforts in this concern with POPCOM and the Department of Social Welfare and Development working on social protection programs for teenage mothers and their children while legislation is already being pushed for the prevention of teenage pregnancy, Abellera said.
It is equally important that the civil society, the community and especially parents and family members to help protect the children in experiencing teenage pregnancies, she added.
Abellera also shared that based on FHSIS data, live births in Cordillera decreased from 30,437 in 2019 to 26,312 in 2020 and as these numbers are based on hospitals or birthing facilities’ report, it can also be an indication that there are lesser health facility deliveries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another women’s concern discussed during the forum was the lesser access to family planning that can also be attributed to the lesser mobility imposed by various community quarantine protocols.
Other panelists in the forum were Ferdinand Gonzales of People’s Organization for Social Development, Edna Tabanda of Filipina Incorporated and barangay health worker Mary Jane Paciten , who shared her experiences in family planning.
The forum was spearheaded by the Cordillera Regional Development Council through the Regional Gender and Development Committee that served as a culminating activity for the Women’s Month celebration. (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)
By Carlito C. Dar