Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Teenage pregnancy

The increasing numbers of teenage pregnancies has been a worrying Worldwide problem for the past 15yrs. In spite of acknowledging the problem and several strategies adopted by different countries, the problem continues to grow.
Poor education, lack of parental control, promotion of sex in mainstream media all contribute to the problem.

 After the struggle in Guyana in the 50's and 60's for free education for all, no-one catered for the parents and children opting to leave school by third form in secondary school (13-15 yrs)-and even earlier! This is particularly rampant in Berbice, complicated I'm reliably informed, by a fairly high incidence of Drug-taking. It boggles the mind that 12 and 13yr old are regularly ending up pregnant. But even more alarming that the system is letting them fall through the cracks. It should be standard procedure for a Social Worker/Nurse to advise on Birth Control after delivery and each case investigated and statistics collected, instead these unfortunate girls are simply let back into society at a greater disadvantage. Apparently an Education Officer in charge of Berbice objected to compulsory Blood Testing of all children in the 'Common Entrance' or SSEE ( Secondary School Entrance Examinations) for their HIV-status, although that would have been an effective re-enforcement of what they are taught in the Sex Education section of the Social Science exam. Considering the maximum age for that class is now 12 (used to be 11 in my day) and some children are sexually active, whether by choice or not, then it would establish a basic Data Base and also be giving the children a tool with which they can start taking responsibility for their future lives- I really cannot see how knowing your HIV status can be a bad thing-- it would not be unreasonable to expect  figures in the high 90's percentage-wise, and if the HPV and Rubella vaccines are going to be introduced to the girls within a matter of months then they need the tools to deal with that aspect of adult life, along with Prevention of pregnancy advice. Sadly this is yet another task that Society has to do which ought to be done by parents.

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