The Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd), and World Health Organization (WHO) Philippines Country Office, launched a four-day Foundational Course online training on Adolescent Health for all Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH) focal persons from various school divisions and regional representatives across the country.

Through DepEd’s Bureau of Learner Support Services-School Health Division (BLSS-SHD), with technical assistance from the Society of Adolescent Medicine, Inc. (SAMPI), Plan International Philippines, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the training is aimed at capacitating DepEd teaching and non-teaching personnel with knowledge on adolescent development and services for adolescent learners.

“DepEd health personnel, our teachers and non-teaching personnel, who are our frontliners in schools, should always be ready to face adolescents in need of help no matter the circumstances,” said BLSS-SHD Director Lope B. Santos III.

The training course was programmed to cater, per batch, to all ARH focal persons and is scheduled from January to April 2022. Meanwhile, training in schools will commence in April and will last until December 2022.

“I hope this training serves as an inspiration to cooperate in improving adolescent-friendly services, facilities and environment. Besides further pushing for a more holistic and life course approach to healthcare, we also gear towards providing our adolescent population with the utmost care and attention that is crucial at this stage of development,” stated DOH Supervising Health Program Officer Ms. Dulce C. Elfa.

The activity coincides with the celebration of the International Adolescent Health Week on March 20-26, 2022, allowing primary care providers to support learners as they transition from childhood to adulthood,physically and mentally, amid a life affected by a pandemic to becoming independent individuals as this year’s theme states.

“Everyone should create a nurturing environment for our adolescents together to ensure their good development and well-being that will help them blossom into productive, healthy and reliable adults and citizens of the Philippines,” explained Dr. Jacqueline Kitong, WHO Technical Officer for Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health.

The ARH Education is in support of DepEd’s commitment under the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (R.A. 10354), which mandates the institution to deliver a sustainable and age- and development-appropriate reproductive health education and training for educators to create an inclusive and integrated Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Education in formal, informal and indigenous learning.

“The DOH is grateful to DepEd, WHO, and to all of our partners who have contributed to the realization of the Foundational Course on Adolescent Health Training. We must also look out and take care of our adolescent population, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. Shaped by proper virtues, we must ensure that they grow up independent and aware of the environment they live in,” said Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III.