Drop in number of teenage pregnancies in S’wak

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KUCHING: The number of teenage pregnancies in Sarawak has dropped from 2,909 cases last year to 1,872 cases during the first nine months of this year.

New Sarawak Tribune quoted Sarawak Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing Minister Fatimah Abdullah as saying that the figures were still worrying.

“It needs a lot of advocacy work to reduce the figures below 1,000 a year.”

She said the state government needed NGOs like the Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) to help create greater public awareness, especially among parents and children, to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies.

Fatimah pledged to work closely with NGOs next year to do the advocacy work together.

“We want to help reduce the number of baby dumping cases. We will hold workshops and seminars on teenage pregnancies.”

A workshop on teenage pregnancy will be held by the ministry in Kapit tomorrow.

The Sarawak Government has 11 one-stop teenage pregnancy centres (OSTPC) throughout the state to provide quick holistic assistance to teenage mothers and pregnant teenagers.

These centres provide welfare assistance, safe places to stay, schooling assistance and legal aid.

For example, there’s a safe place at Taman Seri Puteri in Telaga Air, Kuching, for target groups to stay.

Fatimah said parents played an important role in controlling their children’s behaviour.

“Educate your children to be responsible people,” she urged after a courtesy call by SDNU members at her office today.

“They should watch closely their children’s relationships and ensure they restrain themselves.

“Religious education is also important.”