The Civil Registry Statistics of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has revealed two registered live births from girls as young as 10 years old from the National Capital Region (NCR) and Region 4A (Calabarzon), both of which have a relatively high population.
The NCR recorded 369 cases of babies born to mothers aged 10 years to 14 years in 2018, but the figure went down by 6.5 percent to 345 registered cases in 2019.
Cases involving girls aged 15 years to 19 years also decreased by 4.8 percent from 20,613 in 2018 to 19,614 in 2019.
“Although (a) declining trend was observed in both age brackets, the case of a 10-year-old getting pregnant has sounded the alarm for all local government units to harmonize their efforts for stronger and better initiatives on adolescent reproductive health,” Commission on Population and Development (Popcom)-NCR Director Lydio Español Jr. said in a news release issued Tuesday.
Español also expressed concern over the case of the pregnant 10-year-old who carries extra health risks to both herself and the baby, among them pre-term delivery and severe neonatal conditions.
As reported by the World Health Organization, complications during pregnancy and childbirth are still the leading causes of death for 15- and 19-year-old girls globally.
The case of the Philippines as a developing country poses a higher threat to the lives of these young girls.
The current pandemic has not only worsened the difficulty of availing prenatal and other maternal services but also family planning services, which are very crucial in mitigating cases of early pregnancies.
A study by Dr. Alejandro Herrin on the economic impact of teenage pregnancies showed that adolescents who have begun childbearing were less likely to complete secondary education, resulting in a significant decrease in total lifetime earnings.
Based on PSA statistics, the reported births from adolescent mothers aged 10 years to 19 years in 2019 were most prevalent in Quezon City (4,246), the City of Manila (3,782), and Caloocan City (2,429), while Pateros and San Juan had 95 and 100, respectively.
In response, Popcom-NCR has partnered with the Zuellig Family Foundation for the reduction of teenage pregnancy through The Challenge Initiative (TCI) project.
Quezon City, Manila, and Makati were selected for the launch of the TCI in Metro Manila.
The first two cities have the highest incidence of early pregnancies in the region while Makati has expressed interest in the project.
The Popcom would also look into the Social Protection Program for Teenage Mothers and their Children, to be jointly implemented with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
The program aims to provide holistic interventions to minor parents and their children.
Español added that for the programs to yield better results, a partnership among stakeholders, including the private sector, academe, and barangays, is necessary.