Adolescent and Youth Health Program (AYHP)


A Situationer on Adolescents Health                 

Non-communicable diseases account for more than 40% of the deaths in young people (10-24 years old) and injuries are the causes of death in almost one third of people in this age group. Assault and transport accidents are the leading causes of mortality among young people with a mortality rate of 9.7 and 5.8 deaths per 100,000 populations, respectively (Philippine Health Statistics, 2003). Other significant causes of death among the 10-24 years old Filipinos include complications related to pregnancy, labor and puerperium; epilepsy; chronic rheumatic heart disease; intentional self harm; and accidental drowning and submersion (Philippine Health Statistics, 2003).Of the 1.67 M live births registered in 2003, 35.7% (596, 076 LB) were by women £24 years old. Teenage pregnancy accounted for 8% of all births (National Demographic Health Survey, 2003). Of the 1,798 maternal deaths registered for the same year, 22.3% were women £24 years old. The proportion of malnutrition among those 11 – 19 years of age (underweight and overweight) were noted to increase from 1993 to 2003 (FNRI Survey 1993, 1998 and 2003).About 4% of Filipinos 10 – 24 years of age have some form of disability. The most common of this are speaking and hearing disabilities.


PER 10,000 POPULATION. Philippine Health Statistics, 2003

    Male Female Both
Rank Cause of Death No. Rate No. Rate No. Rate
1 Asssault 2,240 17.6 183 1.5 2,423 9.7
2 Transport Accidents 1,146 9.0 303 2.5 1,449 5.8
3 Event of undetermined intent 570 5.3 300 2.5 970 3.9
4 Symptoms, signs & abnormal clinical findings not elsewhere classified 602 4.7 352 2.9 954 3.8
5 Pneumonia 527 4.1 355 2.9 882 3.5
6 Tuberculosis of the Respiratory System 537 4.2 340 2.8 877 3.5
7 Chronic Rheumatic Heart Disease 447 3.5 426 3.5 873 3.5
8 Accidental drowning and submersion 596 4.7 215 1.7 811 3.2
9 Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis 385 3.0 332 2.7 717 2.9
10 Other accidents & late effects of transport/other accidents 518


113 0.9 631 2.5

Leading Threats to Adolescents Health

Accidents and other inflicted   injuries

Among 10- 24 age groups, this threat caused 27% of the total deaths (2003 data). Young males always exlusively succumb to injuries and females have the increasing mortality due to complications of pregrancy, labor delivery and puerperium. These data have been on the uptrend, a challenge to community-based or DOH-led programs.  The threat is caused by the adolescent’s exposure to poorly maintained roads and poorly managed traffic systems. Adolescents’ increased mobility to urban areas needs a correspondidng physical and infrastructre support in their quest for better opportunities and education pursuits. Another is the inability   of the state to provide adequate number of police personnel leading to an increasing number of assault and transport accidents among the young males.   


Tubercolusis, Pneumonia, and Accidental  drowning

Close to 6% of young Filipinos who died in 2003 died of various forms of tuberculosis, followed by pneumonia that caused 4% of deaths. This health issue among the  young  has  been declining  through the years  due  to sustained  nationwide  programs   that began in  1987  and  has somehow caused  to keep deaths  down, hence  efforts to continue  sustaining  becomes the challenge.  


The threat of HIV and other sexually – related diseases   

Reported cases increased substantially increased over the past year.Among the 15-24 year olds, reported HIV infections nearly tripled between 2007 and 2008 from 41 cases to 110 per year, which is substantial cause for alarm. In 2009, 15-24 year olds make 29% of all new infections; in 2009, the number of new infections among 20-24 equals the number of new infections among 25-29; with 10 cases see July DoH AIDS Registry Report.  The substantial  increase  from the  past year can be  traced  from  the   adolescents’   early engagement in health risk behaviour, due to  serious gaps  of  the knowledge on  the  dangers  of drugs, as well as  the  cause  as well as causes  on  the   transmission of  STD and HIV AIDS ,  dangers  of indiscriminate  tattooing and body- piercing  and    inadequate population  education.  Under this   threat, young males  are prone to engaging  in health risk behaviour  and more  young fermales  are also doing  the same  without  protection  and are  prone to  aggressive or coercive  behaviours  of others  in the community such that  it often results   to significant  number  of unwanted pregrancies,septic abortion and poor self-care practices.

In addition, there are also other   less common but significant causes of disease and deaths namely;

Intentional self- harmthe 9th leading cause of death among 20-24 years old. In this age group, seven out of 10 who died of suicide   were males. In age group of 10-24 years old took up 34% of all deaths from suicide in 2003

Substance Abuse  -  15-19 years  old  group has  the  claim  of  drug use; more males than females who are drug users and  drug rehabilitaiton centers claim  that majority  of clients   belong to age group of 25-29 years  old.  According to the SWS survey, 1996- 1.5M youth Filipinos and 1997-   grew into 2.1M youth Filipinos are into substance abuse    

Nutritional Deficiencies  –there are no specific rates for adolescent and youth, but there is  the prevalence  of anemia and vitamin A deficiency  which may be also  high  for the adolescents and youth  as those known for the  younger and  pregnant women.   

Disability – Filipinos aged 10-24 years old has an overall disability prevalence of 4%. The most common disability among this age group affected are speaking (35%), hearing (33%) and moving and mobility (22%)  


There are also vulnerable Filipino adolescents which can be classified in their respective areas of vulnerability 

Sub-groups Vulnerability areas
Young among the  street-dwellers   Common infections, physical abuse or assault, sexual  exploitation, drug use, road  accidents 
Out- of- school  adolescents and  youth  High risk behaviour; smoking, alcohol use, drug abuse, high  risk sexual  behaviour, risky work conditions leading to injuries  and diseases 
Urban –based male youth   High risk behaviour; transport accidents , other  inflicted  injuries 
Female adolescents  Sexual abuse, sexual exploitation , unwanted  pregranancies, abortion, unsafe pregnancy  and insecure  motherhood 
Not living  with parents or family  Nutritional disorders, substance use and risky sexual  behaviour, other inflcited  injuries 


Factors Causing Threats to Adolescents Health

The alarming patterns of health issues affecting adolescents health is caused by the following factors operating in a systemic manner reinforcing   further  complexities  in the  health issues affecting   adolescents .       


Socio-Cultural Factors

Demographic Factors

 Continuing Rapid Population Growth 

The rapid population growth of the youth creates pressure to the state to expand education, health and employment FO rhtis age group. The pressure creates an imbalance to the distribution and allocation of resources to various sectors especially the youth. The imbalance reinforces deeper the marginalization and deprivation of some sectors to basic services. A viscious cycle is created and more are having difficulties to access provision on health service delivery.  


Increased population movement   

The scarctiy   of local employment has triggered   the participation of   the youth in overseas work.  The movemente   of the sector has   caused displacement from families and love ones    increase youth’s vulnerability to exploitation, low paying jobs.  According to a study in 2001, there were more tha 6,000 workers in the teenage group overseas workers and it is most likely that   they would land in overseas   low paying work.  


Attitudes, Lifestyles, Sense of Values, Norms and Behaviours of Adolescents

Health Risk Behaviors

A significant proportion of young people engage in high-risk behaviors – 23% ever had pre- marital sex, 57% of first sex experience was unplanned and unplanned. About 70% - 80% of their most recent sexual experiences were unprotected (YAFS, 2002). 

The 2002 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Survey showed that the proportion of 15-24 year olds who were currently smoking, drinking and using drugs were 20.9%, 41.4% and 2.4%, respectively. The proportion is higher among males compared to females. A comparative data (1994 and 2003) showed that among 15 – 24 year olds, smoking increased by 23%; drinking increased by 10%; drug use increased by 85%; and pre martial sex increased by 30% (YAFSS, 2003). The likelihood of engaging in pre-marital sex is higher among those who smoke, drink alcohol or take drugs. As a consequence of substance and alcohol abuse, some have mental and neurological disorders; others spend the productive years of their life behind bars with hardcore lawless adults.  

Health Seeking Behavior

Adolescents are more likely to consult the health center (45%) or government physician (19%) for their health needs (Baseline Survey for the National Objectives for Health, 2000). The most common reasons for not consulting were the lack of money, lack of time, fear of diagnosis, distance and disapproval of parents. Dental examination and BP monitoring were the most common reasons for consultation (62.4% and 37.8%, respectively).Similalry, Conditions relating to pregnancy, childbirth and post partum were among the leading reasons for utilization of in-patient, emergency room and out patient health services at DOH-Retained Tertiary General Hospitals. 

 Low  Contraceptive Use

The overall use of contraception among sexually active adolescents is at 20%.  Non- desire for pregnancy and high awareness of contraceptive methods were not enough to encourage adolescents to use contraceptives. Among the reasons cited for the low contraceptive use were:

  •    Contraceptives were given only to married individuals of reproductive age
  •    Even if they were made available to adolescents, the culture says that it is taboo for young unmarried individuals to avail of contraceptive services and commodities.
  •    Condom use is perceived mainly for STIs, HIV/AIDS prevention rather than contraception


The practice Abortion and Unmet need for Contraception

In 2000, induced abortion among adolescents reached 319,000. This is due to the inadequate knowledge on preventing unwanted pregnancies. Consequences of teen-age pregnancies among young mothers include not being able to finish school and reduced employment options and opportunities. In addtion, the social stigma and fear brought about by unwanted pregrancy pushes the young mother to resort to abortion. Although the disapproval rating for abortion remains to be high,  there is an increasing trend among those who approve of it (from 4% to 6% in males and 3.5% to 4% in females).On contraceptive use , adolescents also don't use condoms for prevention of HIV,it's not only that they don't use them for  contraception.


Risk of HIV/AIDS due to Unprotected Sex

 Adolescents including children living in exteme conditons and great exposure to sexual exploitation and abuse    belong to high-risk categories threatened by unprotected sex.   Latest data on these shows that majority of people engaged in sex work are young and 70 % of HIV infections involve male-to-male sex.   The proportion of young people reported to have STDs/HIV and AIDS is increasing. The YAFS survey showed that although awareness about STDs is increasing, misconceptions about AIDS appear to have the same trend. The proportion of those who think AIDS is curable more than doubled (from 12% in 1994 to 28% in 2002). Many adolescents also resort to services of unqualified traditional healers, obtain antibiotics from pharmacies or drug hawkers or resort to advices from friends (e.g. drinking detergent dissolved in water) without proper diagnosis to address problems of STDs. Improper or incomplete treatment may mask the symptoms without curing the disease increasing the risk of transmission and development of complications. The limited use    of condoms to protect adolescents from risk of HIV is an issue to reflection for condom use is not only to prevent pregranancy but also preventing sexually transmitetd disease. r The YAFS 2002 survey showed that Filipino males and females are at risk of STIs, HIV/AIDS.  It was reported that 62 % of sexually transmitted infections affect the adolescents while 29 % of HIV positive Filipino cases are young people. In addition, it was   revealed that thirty seven percent (37%) of Filipino males 25 years of age have had sex before they marry with women other than their wives. Some will have paid for sex while others will have had five or more partners.


Political and Economic Factors

 Marginalization and Poverty

The disturbing poverty situation of households and families where majority of the adolescents belong   brings in difficulties to meet adolescents’.needs.  Poverty   is closely link to adolescent health   issues.  It reinforces to the situation of adolescents vulnerability to health risks due to the lack of access to various services and unsupportive social, political and economic environment.  The following are some of the consequences of poverty faced by the youth.    

  • Limited Access to Information -among the greatest challenges for Filipino youth is access to correct and meaningful information on sexual and reproductive issues. 
  • Limited access to services and commodities-The lack of access to contraceptive services and supplies was among the most frequently articulated concerns with regard to adolescent SRH. Programs such as the AYHDP do recognize adolescents’ need for access to contraception.
  • Limited awareness of pertinent policies-While the AYHP Administrative order was issued in 2000, few key informants knew of its existence. In fact, many key informants said that no ARH policy existed at the time they were interviewed


Technological Factors 

 Rapid   Advancement of Communication

The value of   technological    advancement   could   never be discounted. However, to the curious and adventurous adolescents various modes of communications are oftentimes abused and misused such as   the use of internet and mobile phones.  Adolescents then become vulnerable to exploitation, in cybersex   and pornography exposing them deeper into risky behaviour. In addtion the digital dependence and addiction causes alienation of   adolescetns to   personal and closer mode of communciation resulting to a distorted image of the adoelscents relationships to the social environment. This  also  deprives the  adolescents  from   productive activities  where they can  develop  themselves fully grown up and mature e conomic and socail being  Moreover,  communcation advantcement has also produced  adverstisements and television  commercials whose image are not adoelsent- friendly  are paving the way for  so much consumerism,  distorted personal and family values



8. International Policies, Passages and Laws as anchors 

In   International Laws

  •    UN   Convention on the  Rights of  Children
  •    UN Convention  the Action for the Promotion and Protection of the health  of adolescents
  •    Convention  on the Elimination of  all forms  of discrimination  againts  women
  •    1994  International Conference  on Populaiton and Development  ( ICPD)
  •    1995  Fourth World  Conference  on  Women
  •    World  Programme of Action for Youth  2000
  •    MDG  Goals :
  •    Goal 2:Achieve Universal Primary Education 
  •    Goal 3:Promote Gender Equality
  •    Goal 4 :  Reduce Child Mortality
  •    Goal 5:  Improve Maternal Health
  •    Goal 6:Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases

National Laws and Policies

o   National Objectives  for Health

o   Fourmula One for Health

o   Adolescent and Youth Health  Policy (AYH)

o   Adolescent and   Youth  Health    and Develoment  Program 

o   National  Directional  Plan   for  reaching the Un reahced Youth Population

o   Reproductive Health Program AO#1 s1998

o   Local Government  Code 

WHO, together with countries and areas in the Region and partner agencies, are working to promote healthy development of adolescents and reduce mortality and morbidity.  In the Western Pacific Region, several technical units are working to implement interventions that improve adolescent health in the Region.  The   Philippines   belong to the Western Pacific Region and is committed to:

   Recognize adolescents as ‘vulnerable and a ‘group in need’

o   Address Issues that have an evidence base

o   Socio- Cultural perspectives

o   Develop Innovative mechanisms to reach out to adolescents.

o   Encourage collaboration and partnerships

o   Program implementation is monitored and evaluated.

The Adolescent Health Program

The Adolescents Youth and Heath Development Programs   was established in 2001  under the oversight of the Department   of Health in partnership with other government agencies with adolescent concerns   and other stakeholdres. The  program  is targeting youth ages 10–24,  and the program  provides comprehensive implementation guidelines for youth-friendly comprehensive health care and services on multiple levels—national, regional, provincial/city, and municipal.

The program  is solidly achored on International and laws, passages and polices meant to address adolescent’s health concerns. It is operating then   within the facets and adolescents and youth health that includes disability, mental and environmental health, reproductive and sexuality, violence and injury prevention and among others.

It employed strategies to ensure integration of the program intothe health care system in addition, broader society such as building a supportive policy environment, intensifying IEC and advocacy particularly among teachers, families, and peers, building the technical capacity of providers of care, and support for youth; improving accessibility and availability of quality health services, strengthening multi-sectoral partnerships, resource mobilization, allocation and improved data collection and management.

 The program to address sexual and reproductive health issues likewise adopts gender-sensitive approaches. The primary responsibility for implementation of the AYHDP, and its mainstreaming into the health system, falls to regional and provincial/city sectors. Guidelines cover service delivery, IEC, training, research and information collection, monitoring and evaluation, and quality assurance. 


Program Manager:

Dr. Minerva Vinluan

National Center for Disease Prevention and Control - Family Health Office

Phone: (02) 651-7800 locals 1728-1730