A recent study conducted among Palawan youth shows that their level of awareness about reproductive health still leaves much to be desired. It noted for instance that most of those who are sexually active do not use contraception as a measure to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

The survey report, released this week by the research firm iOptions Ventures, profiled the Palawan youth as having a “medium” level of awareness about reproductive health. A significant chunk of the sector remains to have a “low” level of awareness.

This narrative somehow relates to the official statistics pointing to Palawan, including Puerto Princesa City, as having the highest incidents of teenage pregnancy within the MIMAROPA region. The reason for this is not all too clear, or if it is only because Palawan has the largest population in the region. But what remains evident is that there remains a significant number of Palawan youth who still need to be conscious of reproductive health issues.

The study also showed that sexual awareness among the youth tends to be developed mainly in schools through formal education or informally through the pervasive reach of social media. Interestingly, the topic remains generally taboo between parents and their children.

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The problem of teenage pregnancy has been recognized by the national government as a social crisis, and local governments have been encouraged to adopt measures to curtail it. Teenage pregnancy is regarded as a complex problem because it presents not only a health challenge to young parents and their children but it also has far-reaching social implications.

Policymakers ought to look at these studies with a fine-toothed comb and determine better and appropriate interventions to address the problem. The current work of voluntary groups such as Roots of Health and the existing programs of line agencies of government are necessary building blocks but they need to be scaled up and replicated.

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