UNFPA's goal on Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness

As part of the Millenium Development Goal for 2015 of the UN, Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness (SRHA) have been one of least likely to consider a priority according to data gathered from the Myworld Survey conducted in the Philippines.

Last August 22, the UNFPA invited bloggers for a meeting or talk as a part of the series of talks and discussion that the UNFPA are planning to reach out and provide information to people. Ugochi Daniels, the country representative of UNFPA had grazed us and enlightened us with the efforts and development made regarding SRH.

There are several key points that Ugochi pointed out regarding SRHA, which includes teen pregnancy and maternal deaths.

UNFPA is aiming for a comprehensive sexual education and awareness. Every woman have the right to know when they want to get pregnant, how many children they want to have and free access to all these necessary information about sexual and reproductive health.

Comprehensive sexual education has long been acknowledged as an effective deterrent for early and unplanned pregnancies among women especially young girls. It is one of the provisions in the Reproductive Health Law that the Congress passed last December 2012. Implementation, however had been suspended pending a resolution by the Supreme Court on questions of its constitutionality.

But this information is not accessible to everyone, especially to the poor, as a result in to the alarming statistics of increase maternal deaths, 62 deaths in 1000 births, increasing rate of teen pregnancies, in the country with childbirths by girls 14 yrs old and below increased by 75% according to NSO. Data also shows that teen mothers do not stop having one child, girls under the age of 15 who gave birth to their third child have increased by 300%.

This statistics can be controlled. But there had been struggles which makes the process of disseminating these information.

There are plenty of misconceptions regarding RH, like contraceptives and abortion. But SRHA is not only about that, it also includes maternal health, domestic violence, family planning and teen pregnancy. Aside from these misconceptions, women do not have free access to these information. Most people are timid to ask because of some social norms. Not only that, the dissemination of information is hindered because of the bureaucracy or steps needed in order to implement it to the communities. It takes up most of the time and effort getting approvals from several offices in the government.

Ugochi had shared that so far, improvements are positive. Some cities like Albay and Aurora are showing significant changes, decrease in maternal death after the implementation of the SHRA.

Some steps have been taken so far by the UNFPA, They have chosen communities that are more likely to share same views on RH, analyze the situation of the community and if there is a great need, they deploy services to disseminate data through local LGU's and NGO's to increase women empowerment. They have observed that in the grassroot/community level, more are more willing to take on the information and more empowered over their own reproductive health.

The bottom line is, Information should be accessible to everyone. One should be able to get the information on reproductive health in their own homes or even in schools. With the help of social media, UNFPA are hoping to have a wider scope of information availablility to anyone who needs it.

As the saying goes, Knowledge is power. Power over our own reproductive health, responsibility on making sound decisions, will hopefully decrease the instance of maternal deaths and teen pregnancies.

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