The City Government of Naga along with its partners in the public and private sectors and co-workers in the program called The Challenge Initiative (TCI) are pursuing a well-coordinated approach to put an end to teenage pregnancies.
The program, which is co-managed and co-funded by the Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, aims to accelerate the reduction of teenage pregnancies.
Co-implementing the program are the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) and the Department of Health (DOH).
The records of the LGU’s City Population and Nutrition Office (CPNO) on Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health show that the number of live births among adolescent (10-19 years old) reached to 371 in 2019; 293 in 2020; 268 in 2021 and 114 in the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2022.
On adolescent birth rate, the office has recorded 30.54 in 2019; 23.8 in 2020; 22.21 in 2021, and 8.87 during the first 6 months of the current year. It registered zero for maternal death among adolescents from year 2019 up to the present.
The advocates are realizing the objective with the adolescent-friendly health facilities that promote positive health-seeking behaviour among adolescents and improve access to family planning program through TCI and the city government’s Adolescent Health and Development Program (AHDP).
Last Monday, the Barangay Health Workers, Barangay Service Point Officers and other volunteer workers in the city’s 27 barangays along with other government personnel in the city government were gathered for an orientation and advocacy meeting that will lead to the establishment of the Naga City Information and Service Delivery Network for Adolescent Health. A similar activity will also be held in the following days for those in the private sector.
Joy Macaraig, CPNO program officer IV, said the advocacy aims to put a stop to unplanned pregnancies especially among individuals aged 10 to 19 years old who should be focusing their time on studying or trying to look for opportunities to pursue a higher education to be able to land a stable job that will provide them financial stability in the future.
In his State of the Children Report on Tuesday, Nov. 29, Mayor Nelson Legacion said that AHDP works not only to reduce the number of teenage pregnancy in the city but to achieve a zero teenage pregnancy.
The mayor, however, clarified that alongside with the LGU’s effort to decimate cases of adolescent pregnancies, the city government is adopting the hereunder interventions to ensure their wellbeing and good health:
- The Naga City Teen Center that provides direct interventions toward the prevention of risky sexual and non-sexual behaviours among young people, provides an opportunity for them to talk about various issues and concerns affecting them. Young people can also receive counselling and develop skills necessary in managing their lives responsibly.
- The Hearts and Minds Seminar, an advocacy program that seeks to develop among the youth the importance of family, responsible adulthood and healthy attitudes toward sex and gender relations by making them aware of the consequences of sexual behaviour and the disadvantages of early marriage and unplanned pregnancies, the project enables the youth to decide wisely on their reproductive options. The program aims to improve and promote the total well-being and self-esteem of young people and reduce the incidence of reproductive health problems, including pre-marital sex, teenage pregnancies, abortion, early marriage, STD, HIV/AIDS among the youth.
- The U4U (You-for-You) is a teen health resource portal and youth hub initiative of the Commission on Population, supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in partnership with the Department of Health.
- The Nutri-Nanay program that provides teenage moms with prenatal services
- The modified U4U Parenteens and Parent-Teen Talk that guide the young ones towards responsible parenthood. This intervention also helps them to finish their studies.
Legacion said that to make these programs/interventions more accessible, the LGU established the Family Planning Hotline and the conduct of house-to-house delivery of family planning services.
The CPNO was named Adolescent-Friendly Health Facility by the Department of Health-Center for Health Development because of its continued effort to pursue and sustain a manifold of programs and interventions for the adolescents in the city.
(Jason Neola, CEPPIO.)