Anzaira Roxas: Advocate for Sexual and Reproductive Health in the Philippians

Anzaira Roxas: Advocate for Sexual and Reproductive Health in the Philippians

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In America it is easy to get your hands on some form of birth control but in the Philippines birth control is frowned upon and there is no desire for sexual or reproductive health and education.

On Tuesday March 11, there was a  lecture and Q-and-A by Anzaira Roxas.

Roxas, a nurse-midwife who works with Family Planning Organization of the Philippines, has been trying to bring an awareness to the lack of birth control and sexual and reproductive health in the Philippines. Her desire to help stems from an incident in 2009 that she witnessed while working as a nurse in a small community hospital. A young girl was admitted due to stomach bleeding. They later discovered she participated in an illegal abortion. The doctors and nurses condemned her and belittled her. It was then Roxas felt the desire to educate the Philippians.

“I reflected. I told myself is this the path I really want to push through. Is this really the thing you have to do to your patient?” Roxas said.

In the Philippians 2 out of 10 teenage girls are pregnant, 15 mothers are dying per day due to complications in child birth, HIV is on the rise, and there are no reproductive health law. Currently, there is a law that was passed but the opposition (mainly Roman Catholic Church) is appealing it.

“I really need to commit in the community and release awareness on protect yourself, protect yourself from STI, and issues of teen pregnancy,” Roxas said.

Another issue  Roxas has had to compete with are typhoons and in 2013 the worse typhoon to date hit land. Roxas delivered kits to those displaced, especially mothers in their last trimester and those lactating. Roxas had started teaching other young adult and teens about the need for sexual and reproductive health care and safe birthing centers. She trained those she trained are working in typhoon displaced refugee camps.

Her work in the camps, throughout her country and for the people have led to international distinction.

Roger Nokes, public affairs manager for Friends of United Nations population fund (UNFPA). UNFPA is the leading UN agency on sexual and reproductive health.

“We give an award each year to someone who has done exemplary work with UNFPA and in 2013 we gave our international award to Anzaira Roxas,” Nokes said.