ILLEGITIMATE BIRTHS BY TEENS RISING
Sarawak university conducting studies to find solutions, says minister
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.