By Roi Lomotan
DUMAGUETE CITY (PIA) – In lieu of the rising number of teenage pregnancies in Negros Oriental, the Commission on Population – Negros Island Region (PopCom-NIR) stresses the importance of disseminating correct information on adolescent and reproductive health.
Based on the records of the Provincial Health Office, there is a spike in the number of pregnancies among females aged 10 to 19 years old.
In 2014, the figure recorded is 4,103 and the figure rose to 4, 895 in 2015. Some 889 cases of teenage pregnancies are recorded during the first quarter of this year.
PopCom – NIR Interim regional director Darlynn Remolino said the matter is a very serious concern because “we have our children having children already and we all know they are not prepared for that physically, emotionally and economically.”
However, she clarified that this trend is not only happening in Negros Oriental but also in different provinces and regions in the country.
With this, the PopCom official underscored the need to further reach out to younger people so that they will be more educated and informed on how their bodies work and how to avoid risky behavior that may lead to early child bearing.
“They are prone to experimenting because young people are really curious. They are prone to finding answers to their questions of their bodies from their peers most of the time,” she pointed out.
Remolino noted that one of the effective strategies to strengthen this advocacy to young people is through peer education.
Part of PopCom’s program on youth development is peer education program wherein some youth volunteers teach fellow youths on some life skills like how to say no on sexual encounters and how to communicate effectively regarding their concerns on adolescent and reproductive health.
Aside from this, PopCom also conducts an interactive information caravan called U4U Teen Trail Initiative which visits schools and Local Government Units (LGUs).
“It features interactive panels that discuss issues like weight issues, teen-age pregnancies issues, romantic issues, sexual reproductive issues and HIV,” Remolino explained.
“The advantage of this is that it is still the young people who are teaching young people. They are the ones educating or informing their own peers. Based on our studies, the most effective way to reach young people is through their peers. They tend to open up their issues to their peers,” she adds.
The official lauded Dumaguete City for having Dumaguete Youth Leaders for Development (DYLD) for initiating activities that will intensify this advocacy among Dumaguete youths.
Remolino noted that the PopCom does not teach youths on family planning methods but making them empowered so that they can decide for themselves what to do when they encounter concerns in a relationship like being pressured to have early sex.
Meanwhile, Remolino also made an appeal to LGUs to establish a teen center which caters to the needs of young people.
“The teen center will be the converging point or unit of all services catering the needs of young people not only information but health services and counselling services as well,” she stressed.
The topic on teen-age pregnancies was discussed in a recent Kapihan sa PIA forum in observance of Family Planning Month. (mbcn/ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental/This article was originally published at PIA Website on Aug. 19, 2016)