By Carin Van der Hor
The National Youth Commission, supported by the Department of Health and the World Health Organization, convened the 2014 National Summit on Teen Pregnancy last April 24. This summit, which saw the active participation of adolescent youth, delivered a clear message: Adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH), or the lack thereof, is fast becoming the defining issue of this generation of young Filipinos. Without a robust response from all stakeholders, the Philippines is on track toward a full-blown, national teenage pregnancy crisis.
By Jose S. Sandejas
“Fertility rate down but more mothers dying,” read the headline of a front-page report in the Inquirer (5/2/2014). The facts and figures quoted in the report were substantially correct but the conclusions, sadly, were incorrect because they ignored certain realities. The report cited the apparent increase in the number of Filipino mothers dying during childbirth, and went on to attribute the problem to the country’s total fertility rate (TFR), or the average number of children that each woman is expected to have by the end of her reproductive years.
Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that the controversial Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law is “not unconstitutional,” save for eight provisions, what should pro-RH advocates do? There are legal, practical and political next steps to consider, but we think the immediate task is to spread a sense of affirmation: The great majority of Filipinos support the law. Everything else should proceed from that.
The firecracker injuries sustained in the yearend revelry appeared to be a harbinger of worse things to come. According to the Department of Health, not only was the final number significantly higher this year compared to 2013 (1,018 injuries at the start of the new year, or 87 cases more than the figure recorded in same period last year, and 73 cases more than the average in the last five years from 2008 to 2012) but 22 cases also were the result of stray bullets.
This is in reference to the “Did You Know” item written by Schatzi Quodala (Metro, 7/25/13). The item stated that from Jan. 1 to July 6, 2013, there were 903 reported cases of dengue in Quezon City, 647 in Manila, and 475 in Caloocan City.