The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) joins the Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Health (DOH), and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) in the conduct of the National Summit, “Kapit-kamay: Empowering the Youth to Make Informed Choices,” to provide a venue for understanding early pregnancy and identifying opportunities for collaboration to address the issue.

The summit which was held on August 22, at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), brought together selected representatives from the government, private sector, development partners, non-government organizations (NGOs), and youth-led organizations.

The National Summit shared information and data on early pregnancy and understand its education, health, and development dimensions, and the risks and contributory factors to early pregnancy; identify common ground and existing interventions; and formulate platforms or movement with diverse identities for stakeholders to continue policy advocacy and program implementation to address this concern.

DSWD facilitated the break-out sessions focusing on child protection.  Aside from child protection, the sessions tackled the Dimensions of Early Pregnancy with components on education, health, media and technology, and strengthening partnership with the community.  

Facts, figures

Based on the 2015 census conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), there are 29,599,221 million Filipino youth comprising 29.3 per cent of the total population of the country. The PSA’s National Youth Assessment Study stated that the youth population is steadily growing, and while most are single, some respondents also admitted that they are cohabiting.

Meanwhile, the 2013 National Demographic and Health Survey also showed that one in ten Filipino women, 15 to 19 years old, is already a mother or pregnant with her first child; and the number of teenage pregnancies is on the rise.  

Health professionals are one in saying that childbearing in adolescence carries increased risks for poor health outcomes for both mother and child; and the younger the adolescent, the greater the risks.

The Signing of the Pledge of Commitment led by the officials and representatives of DepEd, DOH, DSWD, NEDA and other participants from the government and private sectors capped the whole-day activity. The participants called on all sectors to work together to address the issue of teenage pregnancy. -30-