Editorial: Strengthening families vs teen pregnancy

IN 2018, the prevalence rate of teenage pregnancy in Davao City is between 12 and 13 percent compared to the national prevalence rate of 8.6 percent.

City Health Office technical division chief Dr. Julinda Acosta said this makes Davao City among the cities in the Philippines with high teenage pregnancy rate.

In a SunStar Davao report on September 9, 2019, Teen Mom coordinator of Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) Dr. Mary Lee Lim said they had recorded a 16 to 18 percent increase of teenage pregnancies in 2018. She said it is equivalent to a total of 3,076 cases.

Both doctors have stated that among the factors that cause the high teenage pregnancy rate is the environment of the young girls and who they spend time with.

“Kanang mga peer-group gani, kanang mga barkada. Kung kanang usahay wala na kaayo natagaan og pagtagad sa parents so they rely so much on the peer groups (Sometimes, when they are not constantly attended to by their parents, they tend to seek attention from their peer group),” Acosta said on Friday, September 6, during the National Buntis Congress at the World Palace.

For her part, Lim said, “Most of our recorded patients are coming from broken families and are out of school youth.”

While the government has its programs to address the teenage pregnancy in the city, based on the statements of the doctors alone, there is also a need to strengthen the families in reducing teenage pregnancy.

The government could be more intentional in targeting parents in educating them about teenage pregnancy and reproductive health. When it comes to the technicalities and science of teenage pregnancy, we can be assured that the government will be able to provide the families with this information.

However, knowing that one of the causes of teenage pregnancy is the environment where the teenage girl is, the church plays a vital role when it comes to influencing the communities. The Philippines is considered a predominantly Christian nation; Filipinos have been perceived as religious individuals, and we are known to have a familial community. However, despite these good characteristics, we as a nation are unable to create a truly healthy environment that would prevent teenage pregnancy.

Instead of focusing on inculcating values within the community, the church has been quite busy with its political activities lately. While the church may give its insights regarding certain issues in the country, we think the church should be more focused on strengthening the values of the families and the community.

It falls upon the shoulders of the church that the families are equipped to nurture a future generation of good citizens. However, this is not only for the church but also for other religious groups. They should also do their part to promote good values among their believers.

Preventing teen pregnancy starts at the family. If the family is not empowered, not strengthened with the right values, we can expect teenage pregnancy in the country to remain high.


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