Group wants poll bets to address rising HIV, teenage pregnancy cases

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LEGAZPI CITY, 9Dec2015 — Alarmed with the rising number of people suffering from the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-AID) in the country, a civil society organization (CSO) in Bicol has urged the local and national candidates to include the health concerns in their political debates in the upcoming 2016 elections campaign.

“We will ask them their stand on how to address health issues ranging from HIV-AIDS, teenage pregnancy, mental health, and maternal and child care,” Eden Divinagracia, executive director of the Philippine Non-Government Organization Council (PNGOC) for Health and Welfare Inc., said.

She said the issue on the rising number of people inflicted with the AIDS virus has grown and has already reached an “epidemic” proportion based on reports of the Department of Health (DOH).

According to the DOH, a total of 6,552 individuals were diagnosed with HIV from January to October this year.

In Bicol, the DOH has recorded 31 cases from the period January to March this year.

Since 1984 to March 2015, Bicol had recorded 270 cases, with Camarines Sur having the highest number with 95 cases; Albay, 91; Sorsogon, 32; Masbate, 25; Camarines Norte, 19; Catanduanes, 7 cases, and one unknown case.

Divinagracia said that at the rate the HIV cases have been reported, it is estimated that one case is detected every hour.

“The forum will serve as a barometer or guide in helping people decide objectively who among the candidates deserve to be voted or rejected based on their political agenda on health,” Divinigracia said.

Other concerns that have to be addressed by the 2016 elections candidates include the rising number of teenage pregnancy, maternal and child mortality rate, mental health cases, poverty and the integration of reproductive health to Climate Change.

The 2013 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) indicated that one in 10 young Filipino women age 15-19 has begun childbearing. (PNA)

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