At least 495 babies are born every day to Filipino girls aged 10 to 19 years, according to the 2019 data of the Philippine Statistics Authority. To address this, Malacañang declared as a national priority the implementation of measures to prevent teenage pregnancy through Executive Order (EO) No. 141, which further mobilized government agencies, the youth, and the community to work together in addressing the root causes of the problem.
Ahead of the EO signed on June 25, an additional 10 cities already heeded the call of The Challenge Initiative (TCI) in the Philippines to reduce teenage pregnancies. TCI aims to establish adolescent-friendly health facilities that promote positive health-seeking behavior and improve access to family planning programs.
Started in 2020, the TCI in the Philippines is co-managed and co-funded by the Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health. The five-year project has been implemented in three pilot sites (Dipolog, Cagayan de Oro, and Puerto Princesa cities) in collaboration with the Commission on Population and Development (Popcom).
10 scale-up cities
The 10 scale-up cities are Santiago (Isabela), Baguio, San Jose (Nueva Ecija), Biñan (Laguna), Naga (Camarines Sur), Tacloban, Iloilo, Tagum (Davao del Norte), Tacurong (Sultan Kudarat), and General Santos. These were selected based on high political commitment, available budget and other resources, health system readiness, size of potential impact, and identified stakeholders.
The participating cities will be given technical assistance and guidance on TCI’s proven high-impact approaches on leadership and governance, quality adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive (AYSRH) health services, youth engagement, and demand generation.
Interventions include comprehensive sexuality education, inter-generational dialogue, policy development, and information and service delivery network for adolescent health and development.