January 24, 2019
The number of adolescents age 15-19 years old who are already mothers or have begun childbearing has increased for the last five years in Northern Mindanao. According to the most recent National Demographic and Health Survey (2017 NDHS), some 15% of adolescent women from this age group have already started childbearing compared to 10% in 2013. With this figure, it makes Northern Mindanao the second highest in the entire country.
Childbearing is the condition of being pregnant with their first child or having a live birth already. Among adolescents, it is a communal problem, a family problem and a personal problem, all rolled into one. It goes hand in hand with premarital sex. Early pregnancy specifically at teenage, in most cases, hinders opportunity for women to finish higher education causing them unable to get a good job to improve theirs and their family’s well-being.
A related study conducted in 2013 by the University of the Philippines Population Institute called “Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Survey” had correlated findings with that of the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey.
It says that there is an increasing proportion of youth (21%) who have engaged in premarital sex before age 18; more than 1 in 5 youths in Region X have engaged in premarital sex; and 9 out of 10 youths in Region X’s 1 st premarital sex were unprotected against STIs, HIV/AIDS, and pregnancy.
Young people need information and family planning services. The 2017 NDHS revealed that 71.3% or 167,463 youths have demand for family planning commodities like Pills, IUD, Implant, and other artificial and natural means because many of them are sexually active and are already into intimate relationships.
As a policy, POPCOM strictly adheres to the principles of the RPRH Law which is to support the reproductive health of women including young girls and boys through continuous reproductive health information and education and creating networks for effective service referral systems.
To assist young people in their reproductive needs, POPCOM has created a network of service providers through the Information Service Delivery Network (ISDN) to help them access the services. The purpose of establishing this network is to create a referral pathway which will link the needs and demand of the adolescent in youth for reproductive health information and services and other services they might need and connect them to the proper agency or institution.
“This situation calls all stakeholders, government, both national and local, non-government organizations, church, parents, SK to put measures to equip our children with knowledge and guidance to make choices they believe are the best for themselves,” concludes Regional Director Jeremias C. Gupit