S’wak teenage pregnancy-related issues down 10%


MIRI: Sarawak reduced problems related to teenage pregnancies by more than 10% last year following the formation of the One Stop Pregnancy Committee (OSTPC) since October 2014.

Sarawak Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister, Fatimah Abdullah said that in 2014, a total of 3,401 teenage pregnancies were reported and that up to November 2015, the figure declined to 2,663 with December 2015 showing a decreasing trend across the state.

“We have estimated that the reduction of teenage pregnancies will be between 10 per cent to 19 per cent if it includes December 2015 figures. This has exceeded our Key Performance Index (KPI) target of 10 per cent,” she told reporters after chairing the OSTPC Miri meeting today.

Fatimah, who is state OSTPC chairman, attributed the reduction to the critical role played by government departments and agencies, the police, religious and women non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in creating awareness about teenage pregnancies and its negative impact among parents as well as teenagers across the state.

“It is a success story because Sarawak is ranked second after Sabah in terms of the highest [number of] teenage pregnancies and, with the latest figures, it shows that our efforts through the OSTPC are slowly achieving results.

“As for cases referred to the OSTPC in 2015, up to November last year we received 157 cases and solved 85 cases state-wide. As for the rest of the cases, some cannot be solved as it involved statutory rape or rape with minors, which is a serious offence,” she said.

She said that Miri also showed a downward trend with 411 teenage pregnancies registered up to November 2015 compared to 509 in 2014.

She said the main challenge facing teenage pregnancies in Sarawak was the absence of the father’s name in the birth certificate if the mother was not married to the child’s biological father, which would create a negative impact.