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Stop adolescent pregnancies, teach children about reproductive health, says Save the Children Philippines

Teenage pregnancy
Althea* (not her real name) got pregnant when she was only 13 years old. Facing rumors about her situation, the Family Development Approach sessions provided by Save the Children Philippines helped her to stand up for herself and not let others belittle her. Ariane Rea Berliso/ Save the Children.

Save the Children is alarmed by the 35% increase in pregnancies among children aged 10-14 in the Philippines. In an effort to address this alarming trend, the leading child rights organization calls on families and the government to join forces in educating children about their rights and reproductive health.

In 2022, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) documented 3,135 cases of adolescent pregnancies among young girls, showing a 35% increase from the 2,320 cases recorded in 2021. PSA has noted a concerning upward trend in teenage pregnancies under the age of 15 since 2017. Since then, the Philippines continues to have one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Asia.

As International Women’s Day approaches, Save the Children Philippines hopes to draw attention to early and unintended pregnancies among very young girls. “We call upon the government to prioritize comprehensive access to sexual and reproductive health information and services, conduct massive awareness-raising campaigns, and strengthen health systems to safeguard the safety and well-being of our children. Additionally, we encourage parents to engage in open and healthy conversations with their children about sexuality and reproductive health to empower them to make informed choices,” Save the Children’s Technical Adviser for Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Shebana Alqaseer said.

Save the Children Philippines is helping mothers and caregivers learn to communicate with adolescent children on lessons of sexuality and reproductive health through Healthy, Empowered and Responsible Teens or “HEART to Heart” program implemented in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.*

Josie from Eastern Visayas is the mother of 11-year-old Maria (not her real name) who bravely survived abuse from her landlord’s teenage son. Josie now realized the importance of positive parenting. “Looking back, I realize the significance of equipping my children with the tools to understand consent and fostering open dialogue. Had I participated in the HEART to Heart program sooner, I could have better supported and empowered Maria through her ordeal.”

Josie’s story highlights the impact of proactive parental engagement and community programs in safeguarding the well-being and resilience of adolescent girls.

Save the Children Philippines held Positive Parenting workshops as part of the ADDVOICE initiative. Josie was one of the hundreds of parents and caregivers who participated in the workshops.

The rising prevalence of adolescent pregnancy, which is now regarded a national problem, cannot be traced to a single cause; rather, it is the result of a combination of biological, social, and cultural factors. These factors contributed to adolescent sexuality and reproductive health issues: (1) early sexual debut; (2) limited access to comprehensive sex information and education; (3) inadequate communication skills among parents, whom adolescents identify as one of their preferred sources of information regarding sexual reproductive health; (4) lack of access to family planning services; (5) cultural practices that encourage early union; and (6) absence of adolescent sexuality and reproductive health (ASRH) policies and its full-implementation.


*Save the Children Philippines’ “Healthy, Empowered, and Responsible Teens or ‘HEART to Heart’ Program helps mothers and caregivers improve their communication skills to teach sexuality and reproductive health.

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