Thursday, January 12, 2017

Population body in Albay taps youth volunteers to help curb teen pregnancies

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 11 (PNA) —- The Population Management Division of Albay is organizing youth volunteers who will act as “front line advocates” in promoting adolescent and youth health activities among the youth in various barangays (villages) in the province.

Eden Gonzales, provincial population officer of Albay, said health promotion among the young population must be popularized, particularly in far flung areas, to reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancies and violence against young people expressing a different sexual orientation, which have been a cause for concern among authorities in recent years.

She said the volunteers will be called “Junior Community-based Health and Gender-based Violence (GBV) Advocates.”

Gonzales said the junior volunteers will undergo comprehensive trainings in community organizing, communications, peer education, referral system and policy development.

She said the volunteers will also be mobilized to assist local government units in implementing adolescent and youth health activities in the localities.

Gonzales explained that barangay health workers are overloaded with tasks and the role of the youth volunteers is to help them in their advocacy work.

She said data they have gathered showed that in 2014 there were 1,661 teen pregnancies in Albay with the figure increasing by nearly half as much to 2,534 teen pregnancies in 2015.

“From January to September 2016, there were 710 reported teens who got pregnant based on records from the Civil Registrar Offices of different towns and cities in all of Albay,” added Gonzales.

She said records from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) regional office in Bicol also showed there had been seven cases of discrimination against adolescents and youth in connection with their “sexual orientation, identity and expression.”

Gonzales stressed that it is also important to address maternal mortality incidents among the young population.

“We need to strengthen our campaign to inform young mothers that home deliveries are strictly prohibited. Pregnant women should deliver in a lying-in or birthing facility to prevent pregnancy related complications,” she said.

The Albay provincial health office recorded a total of 28 maternal deaths from 2014 to 2016.

“There is no reason for pregnant women not to avail of the services of their rural health or birthing facilities which have skilled birthing attendants,” Gonzales said. (PNA) LAP/GVR/MDR/CBD