MANILA, Philippines – More and more teenagers are getting pregnant, and more of them are dying while in labor.
The number of teenage mothers rose by 4.6% as teenage maternal deaths rose by 5% from 2000-2010, said National Statistics Office administrator Carmelita Ericta on Monday, July 8.
In an event organized by the Forum for Family Planning and Development, Ericta said 11.7% of babies born in 2010 were delivered by mothers aged 15-19. At the start of the decade, teenage mothers delivered 7.1% of the births.
From the teenage pregnancies recorded, 10% ended up in deaths by 2010. The figure was pegged at only 5% in 2000.
Despite the rising number of pregnant teenagers, the number of marriages involving teenagers is not adapting to the trend. From what was previously 12,790, only 8,473 teenage couples have married during the period.
Commissioner Percival Cendaña of the National Youth Commission said the phenomenon can partly be attributed to the Internet and frequent use of social networking sites. He explained that the ease in communication brought about by technology has accelerated the time needed for lovers to be intimate.
He added that the lack of an age-appropriate sex education contributes to the alarming statistics, as well.
“In countries with a comprehensive sexual education, the first sexual encounter is delayed,” he said.
The Philippine Reproductive Health Bill, which contains a provision on sex education, will be argued in the High Court on Tuesday, July 9. The legislation took close to 14 years to pass in Congress.
The commissioner said multisectoral collaboration can help combat misinformation among the youth. Civil society, families, and schools can provide science-based, values-laden sex education to empower the youth.
The Department of Education has already issued guidelines, in accordance with a “Child Friendly School System,” so that public schools don't expel or prevent students from studying just because they got pregnant.
Cendaña said depriving young women of education can affect their social mobility. – Rappler.com