Teen Pregnancy Tops Church Agenda

Members of the Methodist Church Conference will next week discuss issues pertaining to the recent pregnancy statistics released by the Ministry of Health from 2015 to June, last year. The
17 Aug 2018 10:00
Teen Pregnancy Tops Church Agenda
Jacquelyn Takabala (left) with members of the Wesley United Church of Solomon Islands displaying their handicrafts during the Methodist Church Festival of Praise at Furnival Park in Toorak, Suva, on August 14, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Members of the Methodist Church Conference will next week discuss issues pertaining to the recent pregnancy statistics released by the Ministry of Health from 2015 to June, last year.

The statistics revealed that 38 cases of teenage pregnancies un­der the age of 15-years-old were re­corded in 2015. There were also 5255 cases of the age group between 15 to 19-years-old.

In 2016, there was 48 cases of preg­nancy in girls under the age of 15 and 1456 cases in girls between the ages of 15 to 19.

January to June 2017, there were 31 cases of students under the age of 15 and 509 cases of students be­tween 15 to 19 years of age.

Methodist Church president Rev­erend Epineri Vakadewavosa said the statistics was a real concern for the church.

“In the women’s programme this morning you can hear that in the sermon preached by our guest preacher, the responsibility is not only for the women, but the church as a whole; the families,” he said.

“It is our collective responsibility to care for our youths, our future generation.”

He said another concern was the number of indigenous Fijians who had criminal records.

“We have the opportunity dur­ing our meeting next week to talk about these issues and see what we can do when we return to our vari­ous places.

“We are encouraging our families, which is the basic unit of society, to be cautious about these issues.”

He said the church was working very hard to do its part in reducing the statistics for the betterment of society.

Reaction from other faith-based


Sarju Prasad, the National Presi­dent of Shree Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji has called on parents to be more vigilant and develop healthy communication with their children to reduce teen­age pregnancy cases in Fiji.

“With the degree of education, parents must be vigilant and there should be communication between parents and children,” Mr Prasad said.

He said the Sanatan body was very concerned over the years, judging by the statistics from 2015 to 2017.

Mr Prasad said the Sanatan Dhar­am has been to schools where they spoke on teenage pregnancies and how they could help teenage moth­ers. He stressed that the Sanatan Dharam did not want mothers to resort to abortion or abandoning their babies, adding that it wanted to prevent the children being stig­matised in the community.

“We have continued and inces­santly tried to talk about this and educate children and girls about this issue. The use of contracep­tives is very important when engag­ing in sexual activities.”

Mr Prasad strongly encourages sex education and would like to see it being taught in primary schools so that children can be enlightened and educated about this issue.

Fiji Muslim League president Hafizud Dean Khan echoed similar sentiments.

He called on parents to be more vigilant and to teach children mor­al values in an attempt to control the number of teenage pregnancies in Fiji.

“The importance of moral values and proper education goes hand-in-hand with the effort to reduce the number of pregnancy cases,” he said.

“If a child has a knowledge of moral education he or she would not indulge in anything wrong.”

Mr Dean said moral values started at home and parents had to impart this education at the young stage so that children could be aware of it and be educated about the issue.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

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