Teen Pregnancies Increasing In Philippines Because Of Lack Of Services, Reproductive Health Information, Experts Say

A “[l]ack of services and information about adolescent reproductive health [in the Philippines] is fueling the rise of teen pregnancies and hurting child survival rates, according to health experts,” IRIN reports. “‘Teenage pregnancy is becoming a great problem in the country. These young mothers are unable to give quality care to their babies, hence these babies usually are sickly and malnourished,’ Jacqueline Kitong, reproductive health adviser in the Philippines for the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), told IRIN,” according to the news service.

“Children born of a teenage mother have a 50 percent higher risk of dying than those whose mothers are older, according to the World Health Organization,” IRIN writes, noting, “About one-third of all pregnancies in the Philippines occur between the ages of 15 and 24, said Kitong.” According to IRIN, “In 2006, a sex education program starting at the primary school level introduced by the Education Department and UNFPA was met with outrage by the Catholic church” and “a planned nationwide roll-out to all primary schools was halted” (3/15).