In the Philippines, women’s health has become a pressing issue in more ways than one, with teenage pregnancy leading the list of primary concerns. With Executive Order 141 signed in 2021, the prevention of teenage pregnancy has become a national priority. This has become the foundation for the National Safe Motherhood Program by the Department of Health which was rolled out to combat the lack of comprehensive sex education and empowering support systems for the youth, most especially for childbearing adolescents.
Based on the latest update from the Philippine Statistics Authority in 2022, Central Luzon comes in third as the region with the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country.
Recently, women’s health company Organon Philippines participated in year’s “Buntis Summit” organized by the city government of San Fernando, Pampanga to strengthen its effort focused on pushing for better access to family planning services to combat teenage pregnancy at the grassroots level.
“Organon’s focus is to provide a lay education program to help participants learn about the importance of women’s health at all stages, no matter the age. As part of this mission, we also focus on the importance of giving more access to information, products, and services surrounding the topics of family planning and family planning methods,” said Carole Lopez, Market Access, Policy, and Communication Lead of Organon Philippines.
Family planning is a critical part of women’s health and well-being around the world. It allows them to make decisions about whether, when, and how many children they want to have. It also allows women to plan their pregnancies, control their fertility and avoid unintended pregnancies.
According to Dr. Jaira Natividad, one of San Fernando’s rural health physicians who also serves as the city’s Birthing Station, Breastfeeding, Maternal Health and Family Planning Program Manager, this annual event has become a vital part of the local government’s effort to prevent and manage the issues and effects caused by teen pregnancy and the lack of information on family planning. Some of these effects are the following:
- Multiple health risks and poor health outcomes for both the mother and the child
- Impact on the mental health of teenage mothers
- Exclusion from opportunities and poor lifelong economic and social consequences
- Multiple and frequent pregnancies; and
- Economic consequences for the country
The Buntis Summit was attended by 150 pregnant teenagers and teenage mothers. The program offered a chance for these young women to gain access to the information and support that they need during this period in their lives through the lectures on best feeding ang nutrition, oral health, and family planning; self-reflection activities; and Mother’s Kits they received at the event.
A culture of volunteerism, celebrating partnerships
This partnership allowed Organon to exhibit the spirit of volunteerism, with its employees actively involved in the preparation and execution through its to join the event through the company’s Balik Handog program. A pre-event activity was organized for the employees to put together the Mother’s Kit which were distributed at the venue. These included essential items for young mothers and were packed mindfully, with the hopes that these can lighten their load and make a positive impact on their lives.
Organon’s partnership with the government of San Fernando has become a way for the company to support the local community and strengthen bonds as a team to support a shared purpose. “It’s an excellent way to embody our company’s values and commitment to improving the wellbeing of women and their families. Organon employees are passionate about giving back to participating in advocacies at the community level. Volunteerism is at the heart of our culture and is part of our DNA,” Lopez said.
Organon believes that women’s health is a foundation for a healthier world. Lopez added, “We empower women of all ages to live their best lives, improve their health and wellness, and make a positive impact in their families and communities when we’re able to provide them access to healthcare products, services, and information.”
Following the success of the Buntis Summit, Organon aims to continue supporting women and mothers across the country by launching “Nanay’s Day Out”, a series of events in selected areas that will focus on educating, protecting, and engaging mothers in their journey as women.
Empowered by Organon’s vision and values, Ms. Carole concludes, “We will continue to work towards building a more just and equitable society for HER – so that she can make informed decisions about her sexual and reproductive health. So that she can plan for her future, and so that she can achieve her full potential. Organon’s true mission is to be HERE FOR HER HEALTH – and we will continue to be where we are needed the most.”
Afterall, as highlighted by Dr. Natividad, “This is a celebration of courage and commitment by the young mothers and fathers here today. Pregnancy is a partnership. Through events like these and partners like Organon, we’re able to promote our message that family planning is valuable for women (and even for men) because this protects them, and their partners. Being aware of – and applying the different methods of family planning in their lives allows them to reach their goals and dreams for themselves and for the future of their child.”