This time, it is the health concerns of the young Filipinos that will be given focus as the Department of Health (DOH) and World Health Organization (WHO) jointly released a Manual of Operations to address these issues.

Early pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STI), HIV and AIDS, violence, substance use disorder, and violence are some of the contemporary health issues that beset Filipino teenagers, according to the DOH during the manual’s release in Iloilo City.

The book, 'Manual of Operations on Adolescent Health and Development Program', will detail management of these concerns. It is the first guide book designed for the local adolescent health programme.

Adolescent years - between 10 to 19 years of age - is a period of rapid development, physical, hormonal, neurological and psychosocial changes, which makes it a time for adventure and learning, Health chief Paulyn Ubial noted.

For teenage males, road injury is the leading cause of death, the last count at 1.2 million. For females, on the other hand, it is lower respiratory infections, wile older adolescent females typically suffer from maternal conditions.

"This launching event aims to introduce the manual as a guide to implementing the National Health Policy and Strategic Framework on Adolescent Health and Development Program at the grassroots level in the frontline facilities," the Health department said in a statement.

The manual further aims to promote health education and health promotion, life skills building and provision of preventive and case management medical services.

It is divided into eight sections - context of adolescent, adolescent health and development programme, programme development and management, strategies in improving AHDP, building service delivery network, monitoring and evaluation, and resources.

Dr Minerva Vinluan, of the DOH Disease Prevention and Control Bureau's Family Health Office, noted the manual is flexible enough that it can address the teens' problems based on context.

“While the health sector does its task in empowering our young people, we must recognize that we can only make a significant difference in their live if we have the support and we work with everyone in our community especially with parents,” according to the department. MIMS