UNFPA grants studes wellness, electronic assistance
By Alice Nicart
Borongan City (5 March) -- Three secondary schools yesterday received wellness assistance including some electronic equipment from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Dubbed "Teen Wellness Center", the program that is set up in schools, is one strategy being employed by the foreign funded project in order to promote health seeking behavior among adolescents and in response to the youths' need for appropriate adolescent sexuality and reproductive health information and services (ASRH).
Eastern Samar National Comprehensive High School (ESNCHS), Lalawigan National High School (LNHS) and the Laboratory High School of the Eastern Samar State University (ESSU) welcomed the project and signed the Memorandum of Understanding with UNFPA through Programme Officer, Dyezebel Dado.
The MOU among others indicates that UNFPA will provide assistance including sports equipment, computers and audio visual devices while the school will take custodial responsibility of the equipment and ensure that they are in good condition and are used for the intended purpose.
Equally important are the students' assistance in the promotion of UNFPA programs particularly those concerning adolescents' RH.
Ruel Andag of the UNFPA Provincial Office stressed that risky behaviors among teenagers are very much prevalent, thus the need to assist and guide them towards better decision making.
Medical experts have previously reported that teenage pregnancy in Region 8 is high, compared to the other regions in the country which also puts them at high vulnerability to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Thus as Abner Aclao, one of the trained Peer Counselor puts it, "counseling sessions in the schools' Teen Wellness could be of much help to them".
However, suggestions surfaced in the forum at the Provincial Governor's Conference Hall recently, such as, "the integration of values and morality should be implemented in the 6th UNFPA Program", and it was outrightly answered in the affirmative by Andag.
Over and above all the strategies to allay problems on reproductive health, nurse Tessie Dala of the Provincial Health Office stressed the point before the high school students in attendance, to observe abstinence while they are still studying and are preparing for a better future.
"You can open wide your arms but not your legs," the motherly advice of Dala resounded in the conference hall and the young girls around giggled.
The forum was part of the month's observance of "Women's Month". (PIA-Eastern Samar) [top]