Division of Social Sciences launches forum series on adolescent sexual and reproductive health

Division of Social Sciences launches forum series on adolescent sexual and reproductive health

Bwasdamlag ko; Responsibilidad ko, a forum on adolescent sexual and reproductive health, was conducted by faculty members from the Division of Social Sciences, UP Visayas, on Thursday, April 11, at the Kirayan National High School, Miagao Iloilo. 

Projected to be a series of forums directed by the Division towards students from the junior and senior high school levels of the Kirayan National High School, the activity aims to bolster the awareness of adolescents on pressing issues related to adolescent reproductive health, particularly the risks brought about by teenage pregnancy. 

Coming from different year levels of junior and senior high schools, it was attended by an estimated 200 students at the school’s covered court. The forum was mediated by Ms. Christele Joy E. Diaz of the Division’s Sociology Cluster. Also present was the GAD (Gender and Development) Coordinator of KNHS, Ms. Shemeriah F. Silla, Mr. Tomas S. Siva, Jr. on behalf of the principal, and Ms. Ivy Namet, the Senior High School coordinator. 

The first session was a situationer on adolescent health in Region VI by Ms. Czarinnah G. Araneta of the Community Development Cluster. Common questions and presumptions related to adolescent health, sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), child-bearing, and mental health were raised for the students to answer in order to facilitate further discussions that were aimed at debunking long-held presumptions and/or myths on sexuality and reproductive health. 

The vulnerability of the adolescent age group was also highlighted through studies and official statistics – from the increasing number of teenage pregnancies in the country, the rising cases of HIV, common diseases affecting adolescents, to mental health issues plaguing the youth, especially since the pandemic. Simple yet effective measures that adolescents could follow and practice were provided, such as seeking the proper knowledge regarding health and diseases, positive health-seeking behavior and respecting oneself and peers.

A second session led by Asst. Prof. Josephine T. Firmase of the Community Development Cluster, was devoted in discussing the various risks involved in teenage pregnancy. A short documentary on the struggles and risks faced by adolescent mothers was shown to the students from which they were asked to share their thoughts and reflections on the topic. 

Firmase emphasized the health risks of teenage pregnancy, which include cervical cancer and eclampsia, among others. She also discussed the socio-economic risks it entails, such as the high possibility of postponing one’s education in order to fulfill the responsibilities of parenthood, the financial burden of sustaining a child, and the reality of discrimination due to the social stigma of teenage pregnancy. 

To end the forum, a question-and-answer segment for the students was done to share their learning and realizations and a synthesis of the two sessions made by Ms. Khent V. Adenix from the Psychology Cluster. Ms. Adenix pointed out the urgent need to make the youth aware of concepts related to sexuality, gender, and reproductive health as a means to lessen risks of having teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). 

This new forum series is part of the agenda of the Division’s Committee on Public Service, which it hopes to continue with other educational institutions starting with the Kirayan National High School.

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