When Garneth Sebial’s boyfriend told her she wouldn’t get pregnant, the 14-year-old believed him. With that assurance, she began having sex, and 3 years later, Garneth found herself out of school and nursing a newborn son.
In the south-central region of Mindanao, Philippines, where Garneth lives, one out of four 15- to 24-year-olds engages in premarital sex. Like so many of her peers, Garneth had no idea how to protect herself from unwanted pregnancy. Recognizing the reproductive health needs of sexually active adolescents, the government of the Philippines made it a priority to offer youth-friendly services so that teenagers could get the reproductive health information and help they need. In partnership with schools and communities, the government is supporting teen centers through the Jhpiego-led MindanaoHealth project. More than 50,000 teens have benefited from these centers, where Jhpiego-trained nurses also offer pregnancy-related services including prenatal care, delivery and FP.
“Everything that Mam Margie taught me about my reproductive health and my welfare as a young mother, I put in my heart and in my mind,” Garneth said, referring to the provider who counseled her on PPFP. “I am more careful now that I am more aware.”