DOH targets implementation of RH Law on Nov. 30
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - September 30, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Health is targeting to implement the controversial Reproductive Health law on Nov. 30 when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shall have certified that DOH’s contraceptives do not cause abortion.

DOH Undersecretary Janette Garin said the implementation of the RH law would help address the “unmet needs” for contraceptives of 6.6 million women and the rising teenage pregnancy in the country.

“We are looking forward to a final certification by the FDA that the contraceptives being procured by the DOH are not abortifacient. This will not only make our services available to the existing clients but also to teenage mothers,” she told a forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Healthcare Association of the Philippines yesterday.

President Aquino signed the RH measure into law in December 2012, but its implementation was halted due to petitions filed by some Church-backed groups before the Supreme Court.

Last April 8, the high tribunal declared the law constitutional, but ordered the FDA to determine whether or not particular contraceptives procured by the DOH are safe and non-abortifacient.

According to Garin, the country badly needs the RH law, especially with the rising incidence of pregnancy among young women aged 15 to 19.

Citing the 2013 National Demographic and Health Survey, Garin noted that the total fertility rate (TFR) in the 15-19 age group was 15 in 1993, 46 in 1998, 53 in 2003, and 57 in 2013.

The survey also shows the TFR in 25-29 age group was declining at 217 in 1993, 191 in 2003, and 147 in 2013.

In the 30-34 age bracket, the TFR were 181 in 1993, 142 in 2003, and 127 in 2013. In 35-39 age group, it was 120 in 1993, 95 in 2003, and 84 in 2013.  In the 40-44 age group, the TFR was 51 in 1993, 43 in 2003, and 37 in 2013.

“In other age groups, there has been a decrease in TFR, except in one age group: 15 to 19… It’s disturbing, it’s alarming and we have to solve this because this generation is actually the future of our country,” she said.

She pointed out that teenage pregnancy takes away the youth from school, depriving them of an opportunity to get a decent job, and resulting in  “pinamamanang kahirapan or inter-generational poverty.”

“Where is teenage pregnancy coming? It’s probably coming from the fact that our teenagers are not equipped with appropriate knowledge, especially on the dangers of having sexual contact at an early age. Most of them do not know what they are getting into,” she added.

Garin cautioned that if teenage mothers are not taught to protect themselves, it is very likely that they would get pregnant frequently, not observing any birth spacing at all.

“There many controversies in the passage of the RH law, but the bottom line is this: there are a lot of things happening around us and we have no options but to accept reality because it is only in accepting realities that we’ll be able to address these problems. Not because they got pregnant early, life would end for them,” she said.

 

AGE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DRUG ADMINISTRATION FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES AND THE PHILIPPINE HEALTHCARE ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES GARIN LAST APRIL NATIONAL DEMOGRAPHIC AND HEALTH SURVEY PRESIDENT AQUINO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SUPREME COURT
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