Issue of December 3, 2017

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DOH–CAR empowers teen moms
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

Eighteen and 16-year-old Lily and Ivy (not their real names), respectively, are soon-to-be mothers. While initially they were bullied for getting pregnant at a young age and were apprehensive about their condition, their glowing faces reveal a positive disposition and that they have the love and support of their families and the government as well.

Ivy and Lily were among the teen moms from Baguio City and the six provinces of the Cordillera who attended the Teen Moms’ Congress from Nov. 28 and 29, an activity designed to fight maternal and child mortality, provide teen moms with proper knowhow, and let them know that they are not neglected.

The Child and Adolescent Health Development Cluster of the Department of Health Cordillera said while they advocate against early pregnancy along with the Commission on Population, the government also extends services to pregnant teenagers, as their health and that of their unborn child are more at risk.

“Teen moms need more care because they face more risks because, among others, their reproductive system is not yet fully developed for childbearing. We don’t want to neglect them,” said Dr. Virginia L. Narciso, cluster head, “and so we do not only have programs advocating for the prevention of early pregnancy. We also focus on those who are now pregnant, because it’s already there. We have to make sure that they will go through the stages with the proper interventions.”

In organizing this year’s Teen Moms’ Congress, Narciso said the DOH aims to make teen moms aware of what to do by providing them proper knowledge on taking care of their health and that of their children during pregnancy and after birth.

The activity informs teen mothers that they could avail of adolescent friendly health services from their respective barangay health stations and rural health facilities that are run by trained health workers. Services include teaching them to undergo prenatal check-up, that they must deliver in a health facility, post-partum care; and for their newborns to be breastfed, to undergo newborn screening, immunization, nutrition supplementation, and oral health.

Further, Narciso said they want to prevent second pregnancy among teenage moms, because based on data, this happens less than two years after their first pregnancy.

Also, the DOH wants teen moms to become advocates of proper healthcare for moms and children by sharing the things they have learned from the congress to other teen moms in their respective areas.

Narciso said reaching out and helping teen moms through services and interventions will help reduce the rate of mortality among teen moms and their children.

And while they didn’t plan on having a child early, Lily and Ivy consider their soon-to-be born babies as a blessing, a blessing they said they will raise by learning from their experience and with support.

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