As pregnant teens get younger, Taguig eyes expansion of peer counseling program
After observing that pregnant teenagers in the city were getting younger, the Taguig government plans to expand its teen centers which provide peer counseling.
In the first nine months of 2016, there were 1,466 cases of teen pregnancy in the city. Of the total, 223 cases were in the 14 to 16 age bracket.
Although the city’s teen pregnancy rate was well below the national target ceiling, local officials noted that there was one case reported in the 10 to 13 years old bracket.
Dr. Norena Osano, coordinator of Taguig City’s Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health Nutrition (MNCHN), said the teenage pregnancy rate as of September was 1.8 percent of the eligible population in the 10 to 19 years old demographic.
The National Objectives for Health target is four percent of the eligible population group.
“Although we are able to beat the target, a disturbing trend is that pregnant teenagers are getting younger. We will have to modify our programs to meet this challenge,” Osano said in a statement on Monday.
“The teenage mothers are basically still children and adolescents who should be in school getting an education and then a career,” Mayor Lani Cayetano said.
“Their unplanned pregnancy restricts them to their homes, taking care of a child. The adverse consequences on their future are multifold and cannot be downplayed,” she added.
Teen centers manned by voluntary peer educators have been set up in the health centers of Bagumbayan, Western Bicutan and Central Signal. The city government now intends to widen the program to include all 31 health centers in Taguig.
The peer educators were trained by the Department of Health, international nongovernment organization Save the Children and city health staff members. They counsel both students and out-of-school teenagers.
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