By MAR S ARGUELLES
LEGAZPI CITY: By keeping the teenager busy in school, teenage pregnancies in Albay significantly dropped way below the national average, according to Albay Gov Joey Salceda.
Salceda, quoting a 2012 study on teenage pregnancy by the provincial government, the Department of Health, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said that teenage pregnancies in Albay dropped by 8%, reducing it to only 1,571 cases.
Salceda claims that Albay has one of the lowest teenage pregnancies at only 24 births per 1,000 women aged between 15 and 19 versus a national rate of 53 births.
In 2010, the Albay Provincial Population Office recorded 1,667 teen age pregnancies, 42 of which were aged 10-14 years and 1,625 cases for those aged 15-19 years.
In 2011, there 1,700 teenage pregnancies, with one within the 10-14 years age level, while 1,699 were between the ages 15-19 years.
Teenage pregnancies in the Philippines have risen by 70% over the past decade from 114,205 in 1999 to 195,662 in 2009.
The teenage pregnancy rate in the Philippines is the highest among Asean’s six major economies at 53 births per 1,000 women aged between 15 and 19, the UNFPA 2011 annual report says.
Salceda claims that the possible reason for the low teenage pregnancy in Albay was due to the aggressive college tuition financing that kept them in school.
The provincial government had sponsored a scholarship program for 34,000 tertiary students in 2012, a big leap from only 14,600 scholars in 2010.
“Keep the kids busy, keep them in school. In the long run, higher educational attainment should lead to higher career ambitions; therefore, greater deferral of [early] marriages and, thus, pregnancies,” Salceda said.
The UNFPA study said the rising incidence of teenage pregnancies in the country is in a disturbing level.
The report said the rising number of teenage pregnancies in the country is among the areas of concerns that the UNFPA is giving serious attention to as this situation would expose adolescent girls (10 to 19 years old) to high risk.
The study recommended that a strong advocacy campaign is needed to give information on and advise young women about the dangers posed by early pregnancies to youngsters, including sex education and other reproductive health subjects.
The UNFPA report said this teen pregnancy concern, if not given focus, would derail and affect the target implementation of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) by 2015. – Bicol Mail