DAVAO CITY, Philippines—The City Health Office sees nothing wrong in distributing condoms in public schools, saying that it is one of the many strategies in order to reduce teenage pregnancy among the youth.
“Giving condoms is only one of the strategies to prevent teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections among adolescents because in the current data there is a lot of teenage pregnancy in the city already,” City Health Officer Dr. Josephine Villafuerte told DavaoToday in an interview.
Villafuerte advised the public to be “realistic” in taking the issue in the wake of increasing teenage pregnancy and Human Immunodeficiency Virus/ Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
She said that 14 percent of the adolescent population have experienced teenage pregnancy. “We are talking about thousand here who undergo teenage pregnancy.”
Villafuerte explained that the distribution of condoms come along with adolescent reproductive health orientation that is currently given in schools and communities.
CHO conducted series of lectures to students, out of school youth and parents on the current state of teenage pregnancy and other matters pertaining their reproductive health.
“We have series of lectures even in the schools talking of reproductive health so part of it will be a lecture on taking care of themselves and their sexuality,” she said.
Villafuerte said the lectures will talk about not only teenage pregnancy but included as well a range of topics from health, sexuality and children’s rights.
Despite the strong opposition of some personalities on the distribution of condoms to schools, Villafuerte said condoms are widely available at several health centers.
“Here in Davao, we don’t have discussion with City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to block the distribution of condoms. Because even if we don’t give it to schools, it’s always accessible to health centers,” she said.
“It is very important to educate the youth on what is going to happen when you do early sex since it does not only affect you and your body but it will also affect your child and your family,” she pointed out.
Earlier, Dr. Abdullah Dumama, assistant secretary of health for Mindanao, said the distribution of condoms this year will target junior and senior high school students.
“We wanted this to be implemented the right away because there is a rising incident of HIV cases and teenage pregnancy already,” he said.
On January 10, President Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order that allows the Department of Education to implement the “gender sensitive and rights-based” sexuality education in all schools. (davaotoday.com)