Sarawak univer­sity con­duct­ing stud­ies to find so­lu­tions, says min­is­ter

New Straits Times - - News - ADIB POVERA KUCHING

TEENAGERS should pri­ori­tise their stud­ies over mar­riage, said state Wel­fare, Women and Com­mu­nity Well­be­ing Min­is­ter Datuk Fa­timah Ab­dul­lah.

Fa­timah made the call due to the alarm­ing rise in the num­ber of out-of-wed­lock births among teenagers, which stood at 54.1 per cent of the to­tal num­ber of teenage preg­nan­cies in Sarawak last year.

“As you can see from the fig­ures, this (sit­u­a­tion) is not good,” Fa­timah said af­ter she chaired the state One-Stop Teenage Preg­nancy Com­mit­tee meet­ing here yes­ter­day.

She did not deny the fact that there were cases of teenagers who be­come preg­nant af­ter be­ing raped.

There were also cases of mar­ried preg­nant teens whose mar­riages failed to work due to ir­rec­on­cil­able dif­fer­ences.

The num­ber of teenage preg­nan­cies last year recorded a gen­eral drop com­pared with the num­ber of cases re­ported in pre­vi­ous years.

“A to­tal of 12,492 cases in­volv­ing teenage preg­nan­cies were recorded last year, a drop of 882 cases com­pared with the fig­ures re­ported in 2015.

“De­spite the drop, Sarawak still has the high­est num­ber of teenage preg­nancy cases.”

To ad­dress this prob­lem, the state gov­ern­ment will con­duct two re­searches to find so­lu­tions and ways to re­duce the num­ber.

“The state Health Depart­ment has started con­duct­ing pro­fil­ing sur­veys to check the back­grounds of preg­nant teenagers in the state.

“We want more de­tails about them, in­clud­ing their ed­u­ca­tion and fam­ily back­ground.

“Univer­siti Malaysia Sarawak has also agreed to help the state gov­ern­ment find what led to this prob­lem.

“Th­ese two re­searches will help the state gov­ern­ment find ways to re­duce the num­ber of preg­nan­cies among teenagers,” she said.

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