By Ma. Rosario P. Bernal, MD
In line with the Philippine Pediatric Society Northern Luzon Chapter’s Child Advocacy Programs, the Department of Pediatrics conducted its first YOLO (You Only Live Once) lecture series. This program aims to increase awareness among both children and parents on current problems and health issues that are prevalent in young children and adolescents.
Last August 19, 2018, the first lecture series of YOLO was held at the DDVMH conservatory. This was attended by at least 80 children and hospital staff members. Kudos to the resource speakers Dr. Agnes Dimaano who talked about Teenage Pregnancy, Dr. Adolfo Solis whose topic was Substance Abuse, and Dr. Ma. Rosario Bernal who dealt with Bullying in Children and Adolescents.
One in ten Filipino girls between 15-19 years old get pregnant. The YOLO lecture on Teenage pregnancy emphasized the health risks on both mother and baby, and that adolescent pregnancy reinforces the vicious cycle of poverty & ill health. It is the advocacy of the Philippine Pediatric Society to create an understanding and support to reduce pregnancy before the age of 20. The PPS, with the help of the different sectors of government, health, and education work together, to create programs for better support for teenage mothers.
Another prevalent issue with the pediatric population is substance abuse or drug addiction. This is a disease of the brain with significant consequences to people not only physical but, most importantly, psychosocial and economic repercussions. The adolescent age group is most vulnerable as far as substance abuse is concerned primarily because of their developmental stage of emotional and cognitive volatility. Awareness of the risk factors of why particular teenagers are more vulnerable to drug abuse is key to their effective rehabilitation. Involving the youth in advocacy and encouraging a healthy family environment are the most significant and valuable strategies to combat the scourge of substance abuse in our community.
Last but not least is a problem that is beginning to cause suicidal tendencies in children, bullying. The parents and children were given an overview of how this problem is affecting teens and young adults, why people do it, how to avoid being bullied, and what to do if faced with a bully in school and at work.
The audience was very engrossed in the lectures, and the discussions that ensued promoted a healthy and lively exchange of experiences and insights.