The project aimed to increase the knowledge of the youth of Ubay, Bohol about reproductive health and sexual issues, and to improve their self-esteem for them to harness the capability on deciding to abstain from premarital sex. The project sought to guide, equip, arm, and capacitate the youth for them to develop a stronger stance against becoming a victim of the negative consequences of an unwanted pregnancy.
Background and Problem
Teenage pregnancy is a reproductive health issue that needs to be addressed because failure to do so can severely affect the achievement of the sectoral and societal goal of the DOH. Both the health and economic problem can affect the youth and her family because of unwanted pregnancy. The eventual maternal complication of teenage pregnancy, maternal death, and poor neonatal outcome can ensue. Teenage pregnancy also brings about social burden of incipient poverty. According to the World Bank, the Philippines is among the top ten countries where there are an increasing number of teenage mothers. In Ubay, Bohol, 20 percent of the population is comprised by 11 to 18 year old group. In Don Emilio Del Valle Memorial Hospital (DEDVMH), for example, there were 117 recorded cases of teenage pregnancy admitted which represents a 234 percent growth over a period of three years admitted in the same hospital. After conducting a problem tree analysis, it was found out that the lack or absence of information program about teenage pregnancy in Ubay was the possible cause of the rising trajectory in the admissions of teenage pregnancy in DEDVMH. Because of the absence of a preventive program, the teenagers in Ubay practice low abstinence to early sexual practices and have low motivation to actualize their academic and leadership potentials. The problem is high and is continually rising as noted in the past decade.
Solution and Impact
In order to address the problem, a two-armed approach is employed which are as follows:
- Specifically designed and presented materials disseminated using the Internet and social media. The material’s content includes answers to frequently asked reproductive health questions by the youth. Economic and social impact and health facts about teenage pregnancy were also incorporated to emphasize its consequences; and
- Self-esteem building activities such as trust building sessions and sports are offered and conducted in the schools and youth centers to build the inner fortress of positive values that the youth can draw from. Using new and refreshed values, they can decide against engaging in risky sexual behavior and say NO to early sexual practices or premarital sex that could lead to unwanted pregnancy.
Four hundred fifty four (454) students aged 10 to 19 from seven barangays and eight schools in Ubay, Bohol were given pretest to measure their knowledge on reproductive issues and value formation. The pre-test results demonstrated poor information about the negative economic and health consequences of teenage pregnancy among the responders. High exposure to sexual materials on the Internet and social media was also revealed. The youth showed low values formation. Their knowledge on the reproductive health issues was also weak. The post-test conducted after 3 months showed an increase in the awareness of the study subjects about reproductive health issues as well as negative consequences of teenage pregnancy. Eventually, seventy-seven percent (77%) of them signed an abstinence to sex commitment form.
The project has four (4) phases: initiation, planning, implementation, and closeout. During the initiation phase, a memorandum of agreement was prepared and signed after the initial focus group discussion with collaborating agencies and the selection of the technical working group members. The memorandum gave permission to conduct activities to the primary beneficiaries. After which, identification of stakeholders and partners was done. The team members and the resource person for youth self-esteem building were also identified. Finalization of information content for the website and webinar was done, as well as the communication plan, supplies and logistics, training needs for information technology and youth leaders, and capacity building of the team.
Meetings about the objectives of the project were conducted with the team, stakeholders, and youth groups and leaders, followed by an evaluation and monitoring of the project activities.
Note: This initiative is based on the Public Management Development Program (PMDP) Re-Entry Plan of Dr. Mutya Kismet T. Macuno of the PMDP Middle Manager Class Batch 4 (Bato-Balani).