Help educate girls about teenage pregnancy
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According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), “Pregnancies among girls less than 18 years of age have irreparable consequences. It violates the rights of girls, with life-threatening consequences in terms of sexual and reproductive health, and poses high development costs for communities, particularly in perpetuating the cycle of poverty.” Health consequences include not yet being physically ready for pregnancy and childbirth leading to complications and malnutrition as the majority of adolescents tend to come from lower-income households. The risk of maternal death for girls under age 15 in low and middle income countries is higher than for women in their twenties.Teenage pregnancy also affects girls’ education and income potential as many are forced to drop out of school which ultimately threatens future opportunities and economic prospects.
Several studies have examined the socioeconomic, medical, and psychological impact of pregnancy and parenthood in teens. Life outcomes for teenage mothers and their children vary; other factors, such as poverty or social support, may be more important than the age of the mother at the birth. Many solutions to counteract the more negative findings have been proposed. Teenage parents who can rely on family and community support, social services and child-care support are more likely to continue their education and get higher paying jobs as they progress with their education.
A holistic approach is required in order to address teenage pregnancy. This means not focusing on changing the behaviour of girls but addressing the underlying reasons of adolescent pregnancy such as poverty, gender inequality, social pressures and coercion. This approach should include “providing age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education for all young people, investing in girls’ education, preventing child marriage, sexual violence and coercion, building gender-equitable societies by empowering girls and engaging men and boys and ensuring adolescents’ access to sexual and reproductive health information as well as services that welcome them and facilitate their choices.”
The Philippines is the only country in Southeast Asia where teenage pregnancy is on the rise. Of the 10 million girls aged 10-19 years old today, 1 in 5 will be a mother by age 19, according to the 2013 National Demographic and Health Survey. “Urgent action is needed to enable women and girls to expand their capabilities, secure their reproductive health and rights, find decent work, and contribute to sustainable economic growth,” said Klaus Beck, UNFPA Country Representative.
Babaenihan is a platform by which both the OVP and UNFPA increase awareness about the urgency of addressing teenage pregnancies, calling to action the public and private sectors as well as civil society to urgently tackle this problem affecting girls. The campaign is based on a partnership between UNFPA and the OVP for women empowerment, under the latter’s anti-poverty flagship program, Angat Buhay.
The Babaenihan Campaign will conduct national-level talks, community-based talks, and local government engagement. The campaign’s community-based talks throughout the Philippines will enable the participation of marginalized young girls and provide them opportunities to shape the direction of the campaign itself. Babaenihan is the first ever campaign on the prevention and response to teenage pregnancy supported by the highest female official of the country.
I want to help promote the Babaenihan Campaign to help prevent teenage pregnancy through education and information dissemination in schools and my community. By educating students and young adults we can make this campaign a success. It may not happen overnight but with perseverance and diligence we can lower the number of teenage pregnancy in our country.
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