PUDTOL, Apayao – To address the surging teenage pregnancy rates in the province, the Provincial Health Office (PHO) initiated a two-day Parent-Teen Talk program, starting October 11, 2023 in Pudtol.
The program drew the participation of 45 adolescent parents, all aged between 10 and 19 years old.
The initiative aims to engage young parents in crucial conversations surrounding family planning, breastfeeding, contraception, and responsible parenthood.
Population Officer Joyce Sabadao, in her opening remarks, highlighted the urgency of such discussions in the province. “We invited and gathered them so we could talk to them and provide them with proper guidance on how to run a family,” she said.
Sabadao expressed concern over Apayao’s elevated teenage pregnancy rates, stating, “We are actually number one in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) in terms of adolescent pregnancy. It is sad to know, but we are committed to implementing various interventions to reduce these cases. We also have to make sure that we will have no repeat pregnancies among these teenage mothers. Dapat hindi kayo mabubuntis for the second time while still a teenager.”
According to the Commission on Population and Development-Cordillera (CPD-CAR), the region ranked 7th nationwide in terms of teenage pregnancy rate which went up to 6.1% in 2022 from 3.5% in 2017. The region’s teenage fertility rate is higher than the national rate at 5.4%.
CPD-CAR also reported that although there is a decrease in pregnancies among 15-19 years old, there is an increase of adolescent pregnancy among the much younger age group of 10-14 years old.
Sabadao likewise acknowledged the challenges faced by teenage parents and stressed the importance of equipping them with the necessary skills. “Dapat naglalaro pa kayo ngayon, nag-aaral, ine-enjoy ang pagiging bata, but you have to face it, parents na kayo. Para kanyayu daytoy nga programa. Tulungan dakayo nga maaddaan iti necessary skills nu kasano iti agbalin nga responsible parent,” she added.
To compensate for the two days dedicated to the program, attendees received family food packs from the CPD-CAR.
The PHO, on the other hand, intends to organize additional Parent-Teen Talk sessions throughout the province. These sessions are part of the information and education campaign focusing on responsible parenting and the Reproductive Health Law. By JCM