EDITORIAL | On teen pregnancy

Recent reports on the prevalence of teenage pregnancy in the Philippines warrant a review of our policies and programs.

Teenage pregnancy involves a number of serious problems, not only to the mother, but also to society.

For one, teenage mothers often have little to no means of supporting their child.

Years of empirical data have also long established that getting pregnant at such a young age poses health risks to both the mother and the infant.

It is even said that majority of the deaths of teenage girls around the world is attributed to pregnancy.

On a larger scale, the poor health of women and children affects us all, as they form an integral part of our communities without whom it will be difficult for us to prosper.

Curiously, however, these shocking facts about teenage pregnancy, and maternal mortality as a whole, give rise to inadequate efforts in society to prevent them. Although some organizations are working hard to curb the rising numbers, the impact they make is still too small compared to what the nation needs to truly confront the issue.

The problem is that pledging to help in these pressing concerns involves a huge amount of commitment not only from the government but also from private individuals. Such commitment involves a rethinking of our campaign against teenage pregnancy, the improvement of roads that will give better access to health care services, or even a total overhaul of the health care system. We need more birthing facilities, medicines, and health care personnel deployed in remote barangays, as well as large cities, if only to show our determination against being defeated by the issue.

As the current rate of teenage pregnancy in the region reminds us, we can no longer afford to be content with half-hearted promises or lip service if we want to keep our youth from dying due to what is becoming an epidemic. The problem is real, and it is staring us right in the eye. It would be most unwise to simply look away, shrug it off, and say that the problem is not ours to begin with, when it so plainly is.