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Notable Drop In Number Of Teenage Pregnancies, Says Koroivueta

  There has been a decline in the total cases of teenage pregnancies recorded in 2018 when compared to 2017. This was revealed by the Ministry of Women, Children and
15 Jan 2019 10:07
Notable Drop In Number Of Teenage Pregnancies, Says Koroivueta
The Permanent Secretary for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Josefa Koroivueta.

 

There has been a decline in the total cases of teenage pregnancies recorded in 2018 when compared to 2017.

This was revealed by the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Permanent Secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta.

These cases were recorded in the Child Welfare Act Database.

The number of teenage pregnan­cies decreased by 26 per cent with 121 cases recorded in 2017 and 90 cases in 2018. The common age group ranged from 16 to 18 year olds. Dr Koroivueta said the reports received from the cases showed some common factors which led to teenage pregnancies.

“This includes young girls being victims of rape, some are influ­enced through peer pressure, whilst others, choose to have a social life without their parents knowledge,” he said.

“For some, it is through consen­sual sex, through a consensual re­lationship (boyfriend/ girlfriend).

“The contributing factors vary on a case by case basis.”

The Permanent Secretary said: “Given that teenage pregnancy can be based on an individual choice, one way that the ministry capital­ised on is increased awareness.

“Whatever platform that we are offered, be it in a village meeting or through invitation, the ministry is always raising the awareness of increased sexual abuse and teenage pregnancies.

“We will be engaging with stake­holders to ensure that we have a greater community outreach in this partnering arrangement, es­pecially in faith-based organisa­tions.”

In addition, the ministry would de­velop Information Education Com­munication (IEC) materials on the pros and cons of early motherhood.

“We will promote family life edu­cation and encourage making effec­tive communication with teenagers on sexuality and risks of unpro­tected sexual intercourse,” Dr Ko­roivueta said

“The greatest challenge they had come across was when society and people perceived teenage pregnan­cy as a problem and have negative connotations attached to it.

“The issues to access to further ed­ucation, acceptance and declining morals dominate the communities and families where the young girl belongs to and sometimes perpetu­ates myths that it is the young girl’s fault that she is pregnant.

“What is not addressed, however, is how the young girls became preg­nant in the first place.”

He added the other challenge was convincing families to accept the mistake and treat that young girl as any normal individual.

“Sometimes, weighing options with the young girl can be a chal­lenge,” Dr Koroivueta said.

“Especially when at that age, they think being pregnant is the end of them, and choose to nurse their ba­bies full time and have no interest in furthering their education.”

The PS highlighted it was impor­tant for parents to remember that teenage pregnancy is a complex is­sue and is poorly understood by the teenage parents themselves.

“Parents are there to guide, ad­vice and provide moral support for these young mothers,” he said.

“Because it has negative connota­tions, some families have even dis­owned their young mothers to be.

“Our children need our support and the ministry is calling on par­ents to not only spend time with their children, but to also under­stand the different milestones that children develop into and out of.

Edited by Percy Kean

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