Project STEP-UP: Strengthening Teens through Empowering Programs against Unintended Pregnancy
Unplanned pregnancy among adolescents is an urgent public health problem that needs to be addressed. Its effects do not only affect the youth, but the society as well. Teenage pregnancy, which prematurely introduces teens to parenthood responsibilities, impairs society by disrupting the personal growth of the members of its future work force. For third world countries like the Philippines, it aggravates the already poor socioeconomic status (which ultimately leads to poor quality of life, poverty and hunger). Furthermore, this can result to unsafe pregnancy and insecure motherhood.
According to the UN Population Fund, the cases of teenage pregnancy in the Philippines is quite high: 8% among 1.7 million babies were born to teenage mothers. Iloilo is one of the provinces known to have high cases of teenage pregnancy, with the municipality of Anilao reported to consistently top the list of municipalities and cities with the most number of teenage pregnancy cases since 2013 (Iloilo Provincial Health Office, 2016). The said cases were mostly high school students coming from the Anilao National High School which is situated in barangay Badiang. According to Anilao Rural Health Unit, 55 teenage pregnancy cases were recorded for January-July of 2016.
Project STEP-UP aims to subdue the increase of teenage pregnancy cases in Anilao. Specifically, it aims to make the teens more knowledgeable about adolescent and reproductive health, and inspire them to responsibly make decisions for their future.