Mobile app tackling sex, HIV, targets teens

ILOILO City – A locally-designed mobile application on adolescent health is providing teens with the right information on adolescent reproductive health and development.

Among others, the AHlam na! app hopes to lower incidents of teenage pregnancy in Western Visayas, according to the Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) which hopes to popularize it.

“We know that nowadays young people are digitally wired. We are encouraging them to download this app for free. Dira sila makakuha sang correct information about human sexuality and human immunodeficiency virus, among others,” said Roilo Laguna, information officer of PopCom Region 6.

AHlam na! was launched by PopCom on Dec. 9, 2018 last year yet at Google Playstore. It trended for a while then public interest fizzled out, said Laguna.

The “AH” in the AHlam na! stands of adolescent health. The whole app name is a play on the colloquial Filipino expression “alam na” (roughly translated to “now you know”).

The app is designed to be interesting if not playful to adolescents.

“Makita naton sa app ang mga facts or bluffs and questions like kon mag-sex once, mabusog bala dayon. May insakto nga answer,” said Laguna.

PopCom-6 developed the app jointly with the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines, Inc. – Iloilo Chapter and Iloilo State College of Fisheries.

As of this writing, it had over 500 downloads.

Of particular concern to PopCom-6 is teenage pregnancy. In the National Demographic and Health Survey conducted in 2017, the rate of teenage pregnancy in the country was at 24.7 percent – over two percent down from 2013’s 26 percent.

In Western Visayas, said Laguna, the teenage pregnancy rate was 5.3 percent.

“For every 100 mothers who gave birth, five were teenagers,” said Laguna.

The 2017 rate, said Laguna, was far better than those from 2011 to 2014 which was 10 percent as recorded by the Philippine Statistics Authority.

He clarified, however, that the data’s age reference was in the age range of 15 to 19 years old.

“Wala na-capture ang 10 to 14 years old. But ang data nagahambal nga nagnubo so we are hoping lang nga it follows man ang 10 to 14,” said Laguna.

In the 2015 data, said Laguna, the youngest mother to give birth in Region 6 was a 10-year-old from Negros Occidental.

The 2015 available data showed that a total of 12,891 teenagers between 10 to 19 years old got pregnant – one was 10 years old; two were 11 years old; six were 12 years old; 13 were 13 years old; 77 were 14 years old; 382 were 15 years old; 1,068 were 16 years old; 2,375 were 17 years old; 3,708 were 18 years old; and 5,259 were 19 years old).

In partnership with the Department of Health, Laguna said PopCom is intensifying its education and information campaign activities on adolescent reproductive health.

“We believe lack of education is a factor in teenage pregnancies. Young people are confused with so many information from the internet,” said Laguna.

Adolescence Health and Development classes are also being conducted in barangays./PN


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