AS OF 2017, Davao Region has the highest number of teen pregnancy cases in the country.
In the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Davao Region recorded the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the country followed by Western Visayas and Soccsksargen. It showed that that 17.9 percent of the region’s teens aged 15 to 19 years old have begun childbearing, which is twice the national average of 8.6 percent.
According to the NDHS, “Young women with some primary education and those from the poorest households are more likely to have begun childbearing than young women with higher education levels and those from the wealthiest households.”
Population Commission (Popcom)-Davao Region director Bai Agnes Sampulna said there are 118 teen centers in the region catering to these teenage pregnancy cases.
“Dito sa region, we have the most number of teen centers and that is a very good response in the memorandum of the Regional Development Council (RDC) to establish teen centers in all secondary schools last year,” Sapulna said.
She added that these teen centers will help cater concerns of teenage pregnant women and other troubled teens through trained peer educators and counselors.
Sampulna identified family problem, bullying, depression, and poverty as the causes of teenage pregnancy in the region.
While we acknowledge that the government is doing its part to lower teen pregnancy, people have to understand that the first line of defense against teen pregnancy is the families themselves. The families are the ones who are there to instill to their children the risks of teen pregnancy.
Sadly, it is also the first line of defense that may be a factor to why some teenagers are getting pregnant. As Sampulna have said earlier, family problems are among the causes of teenage pregnancy. The stigma on the discussions on sex among families may also be the cause.
The church and school also play part in the prevention. The church itself must help nurture families on important values. Schools must also serve as avenues on reproductive health care.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), teenage pregnancy has negative social and economic effects on girls, their families, and communities.
“Unmarried pregnant adolescents may face stigma or rejection by parents and peers and threats of violence,” WHO said.
WHO added, “based on their subsequent lower education attainment, many have fewer skills and opportunities for employment, often perpetuating cycles of poverty: child marriage reduces future earnings of girls by an estimated 9 percent.”
Teenage pregnancy is a serious matter that needs to be addressed by the government, families, schools, and churches.