The Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF)’s primary development strategy – Health Leadership and Governance Program (HLGP) – continues to create change in the country, making local public health systems equitable through improving political and community leadership. Since its pilot implementation in 2009, more than 30 provinces, 23 cities, and 617 municipalities have been involved in the program, and was proven to be effective – seeing improvements on maternal and child health outcomes, as well as in health financing for maternal and child health programs. Working relationships among different city departments were also improved, and politicians had a better understanding on significant health issues.
Yet, despite these progresses, city-level data with partner cities showed increasing percentage of births by adolescents, as well as increasing cases of sexually transmitted infections and HIV. With the Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) gaining focus and attention, ZFF tried to establish baseline data for adolescent birth rate (ABR) in its partner cities. Among the submitted data, 20% reflect a higher ABR value as compared to the national ABR. Several local health officials were also confounded and at a loss on why percentages of pregnant adolescent girls are increasing.
ZFF, in its desire to improve its program and possibly identify its measurable and direct effects to local health, wanted to conduct an assessment on the factors affecting this increase in adolescent pregnancy, and a review of existing city ASRH programs. They have partnered with the Demographic Research and Development Foundation (DRDF), Inc. in conducting with this study.
The study started this August 2017, and is expected to run on the field for a total of one and a half months. Cities of Puerto Princesa and Cagayan de Oro were chosen by ZFF to be included in this study, having the highest number of reported adolescent pregnancies. The final report is expected for release by January 2018.