TCI Supports City-Led Efforts in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, to Battle Teen Pregnancy with Improved Data Collection and Community Action

Jul 3, 2024

Contributed by: Pearl Joy Catingub and Reynelle Carino-Eres

TCI Supports City-Led Efforts in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, to Battle Teen Pregnancy with Improved Data Collection and Community Action

Jul 3, 2024

Contributed by: Pearl Joy Catingub and Reynelle Carino-Eres

CDO Mayor Rolando Uy and the City Leadership Team came together to strategize interventions that strengthen family planning and AYSRH initiatives in the city.

Like many regions in the Philippines, Cagayan de Oro (CDO) is grappling with a significant challenge: a high rate of teenage pregnancy. This highly urbanized city recorded an alarming statistic in 2023: 60 out of 1,000 live births were teen pregnancies.

To address this issue, The Challenge Initiative (TCI) partnered with the CDO City Government, the City Health Office (CHO), the Commission on Population and Development, and the Department of Health’s Center for Health Development in Northern Mindanao to work towards a solution with targeted programs and proactive initiatives.

The Power of Data

Dr. Rachel Daba-Dilla, CDO’s City Health Officer III, emphasized the critical role of data in understanding and addressing teenage pregnancies. She believes that effective management of on-the-ground data coupled with accessible health services can facilitate a proactive approach to addressing this challenge. More individuals are coming to CDO from nearby cities and regions to avail themselves of CDO’s family planning and adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH) services, contributing to the higher rates being seen. Dr. Daba-Dilla said:

 Data is power! We have the highest rate simply because we find them. We can understand the problems and can address them.”

Advocacy and Multi-Faceted Approaches

Addressing high rates of teenage pregnancies requires ramping up advocacy and initiatives. Key features of the city’s strategy include enhancing information sharing and accountability through online and community-based family planning/AYSRH initiatives and promoting collaboration from the barangay (zone) level to the regional level.

Ms. Fe C. Sumagpao, a Nurse and Center for Health Development Coordinator for Family Planning and Adolescent Health Development, emphasized the importance of a multi-faceted approach. She pointed out how various platforms, including social media, can be both an improvement and a limitation. Ms. Sumagpao explained:

We need to reach more communities. But we also need to address traditional practices and culture in remote areas, like GIDA communities, where knowledge about reproductive health and family planning is limited. These circumstances often lead to a cycle of early marriages within families.”

Engaging the Community

To gather insights in addressing the persistent challenges of teenage pregnancy, CDO’s city government and CHO organized focus group discussions that engaged adolescents and youth. These discussions unveiled a significant factor contributing to teenage pregnancy: the perception of love among young people. This underscores the urgent need for guidance both at home and in schools. CDO is involving the entire community in advocacy efforts and mobilizing leaders from both the Sangguniang Kabataan and the community. Presently, they are working together to educate individuals and seek solutions.

With more than 52 health centers tailored for adolescents (including teen centers), young people can easily access appropriate family planning and AYSRH interventions. Health service providers, including midwives and nurses from Rural Health Units, have received training as peer educators through partnerships supported by TCI. This collaboration has enabled the city’s redirection and prioritization of strategies to delay adolescents’ sexual debut. Dr. Daba-Dilla added:

 If prevention of teenage pregnancy proves challenging, we should then save their lives through our health services and programs.”

Progress Through Strong Partnerships

While current interventions implemented in the cities have shown effectiveness, achieving single-digit teen pregnancy rates requires intensified and continuous efforts for a sustainable approach. Commission on Population and Development Region X Director Neil Aldrin G. Omega noted:

Despite Northern Mindanao still having the highest teenage pregnancy rate, the 2022 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) reveals a positive shift. Teenage pregnancy decreased from 14.7% in 2017 to 10.9% in 2022.”

Omega acknowledged TCI’s contribution to addressing teen pregnancy in Northern Mindanao with CDO as its implementing partner. TCI helped identify implementation gaps, particularly at the community level, prompting local government units to recalibrate their strategies toward a more collaborative approach to adolescent health programs. Through robust partnerships with regional stakeholders, TCI is helping to enhance the skills of local program implementers and expand intervention efforts. Omega shared:

The main difference between TCI sites and non-TCI sites lies in enhancing local officials’ leadership skills to tackle early pregnancy. TCI ensures commitment from them.”

Moving Forward

The collective efforts to strengthen advocacy, education and leadership in addressing teen pregnancy issues are crucial for the CDO community’s well-being. By ensuring comprehensive access to accurate information, enhancing leadership capabilities and fostering proactive measures, adolescents can make informed decisions about their reproductive and sexual health. With ongoing support from TCI and partnerships, health service providers in CDO are better equipped to address teen pregnancy and promote the overall welfare of adolescents and youth.

Recent News

From Tragedy to Advocacy: One Nurse’s Mission to Transform Postpartum Family Planning in Tanzania

From Tragedy to Advocacy: One Nurse’s Mission to Transform Postpartum Family Planning in Tanzania

TCI’s Latest Animated Video Shows How to Implement Francophone West Africa’s Universal Referral Intervention

TCI’s Latest Animated Video Shows How to Implement Francophone West Africa’s Universal Referral Intervention

TCI’s E-Data Quality Assessment Tool in Nigeria Is a Game Changer for Improving Quality of FP Data

TCI’s E-Data Quality Assessment Tool in Nigeria Is a Game Changer for Improving Quality of FP Data

Community Health Extension Worker in Borno State Expands Her Impact by Improving Family Planning Data Documentation

Community Health Extension Worker in Borno State Expands Her Impact by Improving Family Planning Data Documentation

Lessons Learned from TCI’s Advocacy Efforts for Local Government Financing of Family Planning Programs in Kenya

Lessons Learned from TCI’s Advocacy Efforts for Local Government Financing of Family Planning Programs in Kenya