Despite the high risks of early pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) remains overlooked by local governments due to the lack of funding. The Department of Health (DOH) Region 10 office stepped up to start changing this scenario by contributing ₱1 million to supplement the initial ASRH activities in Cagayan de Oro (CDO) city under The Challenge Initiative (TCI) in the Philippines.
TCI in the Philippines, a partnership between the Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, aims to reduce teenage pregnancies by promoting positive health-seeking behavior and improving access to family planning programs.
Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) has the second-highest teenage pregnancy rate in the country, according to the most recent National Demographic and Health Survey conducted in 2017. And in CDO alone, at least 1,800 girls aged 10-19 years are already mothers.
Activities for 2021
With the ₱1 million budget from the DOH regional office, at least 10 ASRH activities have been lined up in CDO this year. But for the continuous implementation of these ASRH initiatives, there should be committed funding from the DOH and other agencies concerned.
The city health personnel will undergo training on Adolescent Health Education and Practical Training (ADEPT), Adolescent Job Aid (AJA) manual, Healthy Young Ones, and Reproduction HEEADSSS (Home, Education/Employment, Eating, Activities, Drugs, Sexuality, Suicide/Depression, and Safety) forms. These activities will help health workers effectively communicate with adolescents and improve service delivery.
Youth leaders are also enjoined in the health provider training, wherein they undergo deep dive activities. Deep dives are integral in the ZFF training, wherein leaders immerse themselves in unfamiliar environments and different contexts to gain a wider perspective of the real situation and create novel solutions to problems.
Other activities include assessment and mentoring of barangays in establishing adolescent-friendly health facilities, annual implementation reviews, and semi-annual meetings with various technical working groups. Part of the donation will also be used to buy office supplies.