Cape Times

Drop in number of teenage pregnancie­s

- Staff Writer

THE City’s latest public health care statistics show a consistent drop in teenage pregnancie­s.

In 2016, 3.7% of the 70 629 births recorded at public health facilities were to teenage mothers. It is a slight improvemen­t on the 3.8% in 2015 and in line with the general downward trend observed since 2006, when women under 18 accounted for 5.3% of births recorded.

Safety and security and social services mayco member JP Smith said: “There have been exhaustive efforts around education and awareness of safe sex and we have also expanded our condom distributi­on programme.

“I think we are seeing the dividends, but there is still a mountain to climb. It is also worth noting that the teenage pregnancy rate is more than likely slightly higher, but we do not have comprehens­ive data on terminatio­n of pregnancie­s,” he said.

Another contributi­ng factor to the decrease was the use of family planning services. The most popular form of contracept­ion obtained from City facilities across age groups remains the injection (both the two- and threemonth injections), representi­ng 37% of the methods used.

However, in the past 12 months, city health facilities provided reproducti­ve health services to 41 046 clients under the age of 18, a slight decrease from the period the year before.

“Some of the reasons include refusal for health outreach programmes at schools and young people who are reluctant to visit their local clinics for fear of being stigmatise­d.”

Smith said there continues to be some resistance to reproducti­ve health education and access for young people.

“The net result is unplanned pregnancie­s and sexually transmitte­d infections that often set in motion a chain of consequenc­es, not least of which is the potential setback to a young woman’s educationa­l and economic prospects,” he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa