CAS DSS holds webinar on teenage pregnancy during the pandemic

For their annual Corazon B. Lamug lecture series, the Department of Social Sciences of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) held a webinar featuring Dr. Gloria Luz M. Nelson and her study entitled “The Untold Stories of Pregnant Teens and Teen Mothers during the Pandemic,” on Nov. 21 via Zoom and Facebook Live.

In her welcoming remarks, Department Chair Athenee Pacardo-Mercado said that the lecture series commemorates sociologist Dr. Lamug and is a platform for a sociological discussion on Filipinos’ social realities.

She expressed her hopes that it would become a pathway for everyone to see and understand the challenges faced by the vulnerable sector during the pandemic.

Dr. Maribel L. Dionisio-Sese, dean of CAS, talked about the fifth episode of CASaysayan, which is part of the college’s golden anniversary celebration. The episode “Subli: Pamanang-diwa ni Dekana Corazon B. Lamug” featured the story of Dr. Lamug and her exceptional service to the academic community.

She talked about how the world became more volatile, ambiguous, and complex after a series of crises severely affecting the youth sector. She thanked the speaker for agreeing to discuss adolescents and their behavior during the pandemic.

Dr. Nelson, a professional lecturer at UP Open University, kicked off her discussion on teenage pregnancy during the pandemic. She found in her study that 47 births per 1,000 women are aged 15-19. They are pregnant with their first child or are already mothers. With this, her study aims to retell the stories of the 18 teenagers she interviewed and further understand their challenges, especially with the pandemic.

The study found that the stories reveal teen mothers’ multiple burdens, such as lack of knowledge and emotional support, involuntary dropping out of school, and limited social interaction. Yet, it also showed that teenagers are full of optimism and hope.

“If there is something we can learn from the youth, that is their optimism.” Dr. Nelson added.

She said that teenage pregnancy is a global phenomenon and should be a significant concern. She concluded that the spike in the number of adolescent pregnancies is because the discussion of sex at home is still not culturally accepted, hindering the opportunities to gain knowledge on contraceptive use.

Lastly, she recommended that there should be comprehensive intervention programs because education is critical in preventing adolescent pregnancy. They also need psycho-social and financial support, which should be included in the Teenage Pregnancy Act.

The open forum mainly focused on how the study was conducted during the pandemic and how to handle interview respondents on such a sensitive topic with care.

Kristine R. Alagad, head of the Sociology-Anthropology-Psychology Division of DSS, stated that the lecture amplified the voice of the youth sector, which suffers from difficulties concerning sexuality. She also said that it opened the eyes of everyone in looking at different experiences during the pandemic. She ended her message with thanks to everyone who supported the lecture series.

The lecture may be viewed on the UPLB DSS Facebook page. (Kyle Ramiel Dalangin)

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