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Korea and the UN provide $490 million in help to Region 8 to combat teen pregnancies.

In the upcoming four years, Southern Leyte and Samar provinces will get PHP490 million in funding from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and UN organizations to reduce teen pregnancy.

At the introduction on Monday, KOICA Country Director Kim Eunsub noted that this is the first time the Korean government is collaborating with three UN agencies in the nation in a collaborative effort to hasten the decline in adolescent pregnancies.

“Korea is committed to assisting the Philippines in achieving its objectives to promote universal health for all people. Eunsub remarked during the launch at the Summit Hotel, “We look forward to working towards enhancing the overall sexual and reproductive health and rights of Filipino teenagers in the country.

A federal organization called KOICA is committed to helping partner nations like the Philippines fight poverty and promote sustainable development.

According to Maria Rosario Vergeire, the Department of Health Officer-in-Charge, the project is primarily supported by KOICA with assistance from UN organizations, the federal government, and local governments, who acknowledge that teenage pregnancy is a serious health concern.

A USD1 million equivalent has been offered by UN organizations to carry out the project in the two provinces.

“We are aware of this problem, which is why we are stepping up our effort. We are dedicated to collaborating with local governments, other governmental organizations, and development partners in order to successfully implement this project, according to Vergerie.

Adolescent pregnancy, according to UN Resident Coordinator for the Philippines Gustavo Gonzalez, is not only a problem for health and education, but also for economic development.

Gonzalez continued, “We are keen to build on prior collaborations with the local governments of Samar and Southern Leyte and to hasten the advancements they have made in terms of development and humanitarian initiatives.

According to Leila Joudane, country representative for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the project’s rollout, which will start this year and last through 2026, is intended to benefit 275,538 adolescents in the area between the ages of 10 and 19.

Due to their high rates of poverty, susceptibility to natural catastrophes, and the significant number of public school teachers who lack comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) training, these two provinces are considered priority locations in the fight against adolescent pregnancy, according to Joudane.

The initiative is a partnership between the governments of Southern Leyte, Samar, UNFPA, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Department of Health, and the Department of Education.

The initiative specifically aims to increase the effectiveness of community adolescent health services, establish mobile health facilities, broaden the scope of health insurance coverage for expectant mothers, standardize and strengthen peer education, hasten the integration of CSE and teacher training, create a local performance accountability system, support youth leadership and governance initiatives, and conduct research on early and forced marriages.

The initiative would train 360 local government units in 20 towns and cities in the provinces of Southern Leyte and Samar, as well as 150 health service providers, and 150 public school teachers on CSE rollout, and 360 local government units.

The nation is one of those in Southeast Asia with high adolescent birth rates, at least 56 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19, according to a 2020 World Bank research.

According to the 2022 National Health and Demographic Survey, 4.9 percent of teenagers in Eastern Visayas had given birth.

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