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CATBALOGAN CITY- In its commitment to address Sustainable Development Goal No. 3, which is to "ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages," Samar State University, represented by the Executive Director for Research Sherrie Ann Cananua-Labid and her team conducted the first collaboration meeting with some health units of the Province of Samar on November 14, 2022, 2:00 PM at Mare e Monte, Catbalogan City.

Salome Patosa, the  Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN) Coordinator of the Provincial Health Office; Melba Gruta, the Provincial Population Officer IV of Samar; and Mark Bons Fernandez, the Community Development Worker of the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines Plan International, were each there in their respective capacities. Alevir O. de Guia and Nathalie Ann Acosta, faculty members from the College of Arts and Sciences, and Mary Ann Apacible, a faculty member from the College of Nursing,  Joshua Josime Siachua, Research Assistant, and James Cataros, a student in the College of Education were also in attendance.

Later that day, Shalom Baile, a nurse from San Jose de Buan, and Jhunlie Escala, the Samar Provincial Youth Development Officer, joined the team.

Discussion topics included the alarmingly high rate of teenage pregnancies, malnutrition, and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, among other significant and growing health issues in the province.

Participants discussed the various initiatives that respective agencies or units had carried out to address these urgent concerns in the past years.

According to Fernandez, the FPOP has trained peer educators in Sta Margarita Samar who are champions of adolescent sexuality and reproductive health. Gruta stated, "their agency has implemented programs deemed helpful but were suspended because of the covid-10 pandemic, but we are returning to it again."

Escala, the driving force behind the SIRAK Kabataan, expressed his passion for the young in Samar and his desire to create a separate unit that will only cater to their needs, with the option of working in collaboration with the University.

Labid said she would study the viability of establishing a Samar Island Center for Youth Development (SI-CYD) as Executive Director for Research at SSU.

The need for baseline information regarding Samar adolescents' lifestyle, sexuality, and reproductive health was another issue that representatives shared during the meeting. Gruta cited the YAFS poll, although the most recent data had not yet been made public. Additionally, the data do not accurately describe the Samar youth. The body asked SSU for their expertise in conducting research. Additionally, looking into how well the different programs their organizations have implemented are working could be added.

The meeting ended with the affirmation to collaborate in the implementation of some University-approved projects and studies, as listed below.

  1. Factors Associated with Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes Among Deliveries in Healthcare Facilities in the Province of Samar, Philippines
  2. Adolescent Lifestyle, Sexual and Reproductive Health: Knowledge, Practices, and Challenges
  3. Enhancing Awareness of Young Adolescent Fertility and Sexuality (EA-YAFS) in Samar