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Teenage Pregnancy A Concern In Rotuma

Rotuma has the highest number of teenage pregnancy cases in the Eastern Division. Teenage pregnancies have been found to be rising at an alarming rate on the island.
21 Sep 2022 16:00
Teenage Pregnancy A Concern In Rotuma
Medical staff based in Rotuma who were part of the REACH programme on the island. Photo: Josefa Babitu.

Rotuma has the highest number of teenage pregnancy cases in the Eastern Division. Teenage pregnancies have been found to be rising at an alarming rate on the island.

Sub divisional medical officer, Dr Malakai Ranuve, said that cases reported significantly risen over the past three years.

He further said that many cases go unreported and it was a concern because they had to deal with it either later on during the pregnancy stage or when they were about to give birth.

 

“The number of reported cases is low but we know there are more that go unreported every year,” he said.

There were five cases of teenage pregnancy reported last year and three cases reported so far this year.

“It is a concern for us because we have to look after their health as well,” Dr Ranuve said.

“We report such cases because it is morally wrong.”

The paramount chief of Rotuma, Gagaj Maraf, said solving the issue at home was a norm which resulted in the low number of reported cases.

 

“When a girl gets pregnant, the boy moves into her home and often the parents are okay with it,” he said.

“Sometimes parents feel sorry for the girl and forgive them as a result.”

In a bid to solve the issue, sexual offence officer, Unaisi Mateiwai, told the people of Rotuma in a recent awareness session on the island that it was time to work together.

She said failure to report the issue could result in hefty fines and imprisonment.

 

Ms Mateiwai said there were cases where a number of stakeholders including parents have been taken into custody because they failed to report such matters.

“It takes a village to groom youngsters to be better,” she said.

She highlighted that people think it was okay to let the issue slip if it was okay with the parents.

“That mindset needs to change and it starts with you,” she added.

 

Story By: josefa.babitu@fijisun.com.fj



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