Wednesday, November 10, 2010

RH Advocates Back Websites on Sexuality Education

RH advocates, Filipino doctors and health experts join hands in supporting two websites that help young people deal with growing up pains which includes reproductive and sexuality health concerns.

“It is na├»ve of us to think that we can prevent young people from getting information about RH and sexuality concerns by not making it available in school. They are not deprived of information thanks to the internet and other media sources.” Mr. Ben de Leon, President of Forum for FP and Development said while promoting a website developed by Singaporean national Dr. Wei Siang Yu, medical doctor known as “Dr. Love” in Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries.

The website is, an interactive, online education site that provides live chats, webinars and information about reproductive and sexuality health concerns for young people. “ can be the hub where doctors and other health professionals can provide interactive sex education to the public. We hope to make it the default platform where the public, especially the youth, can obtain real-time sex education from health professionals. ” said Dr. Wei who also pioneered the world’s first wireless sex education initiative in Europe together with the Dutch Health Promotion Board in 2002.
“ I think that if parents can’t stop their children from accessing the internet, they will be more relieved to know about a website that is run by medical doctors who can provide confidential, medical advise for teens and parents as well.” De Leon said.

The group is also supporting the website which is developed by the Foundation for Adolescent Development (FAD), a Filipino NGO who pioneered the Dial-A-Friend, telephone counseling for youth.

In 1972, the Education Department began its module on sex education for elementary and high school called Population Education (PopEd). This module is revised over the years to keep up with the times. However, since 2006, the Department of Education awaits the full run of their updated and age appropriate module on adolescent RH but strong opposition from Roman Catholic church leaders has caused the previous and current administrations to delay its implementation. But DepEd has managed to introduce the modules under its Alternative Learning System (ALS) program and in a number of pilot areas.

Forum for FP and Development and other Pro-RH NGOs have been supporting the new ARH modules of DepEd and cites national surveys such as the National and Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) and the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Survey (YAFSS) that show the very low knowledge of young Filipinos about sexuality and RH problems. According to a report of the Commission on Population, close to half of Filipino youth are unaware that it is possible for a woman to get pregnant in the first sexual encounter while YAFSS reveal that 72.7% of youth believe that AIDS is curable. “Even if sex education is part of the educational system, youth often have questions they are uncomfortable discussing in a face-to-face setting.” Dr. Wei added.

De Leon also shared that while the Roman Catholic leaders insist that it is the family and parents responsibility to provide sexuality education to their children, a mere 15.7 percent of youth aged 15-24 are able to talk freely about sex at home. “I believe that it takes a village to raise a child and as parents we need all the help we can get and together we can guide our children to make better choices.” he said in closing.

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