Teen pregnancy numbers dropBy Victoria Corbett
March 21, 2011
A card entitling the holder to free condoms, a health drop-in service and an outreach nurse have been credited with a 39 per cent drop in the number of teenage pregnancies in Wokingham.
New figures from the Office for National Statistics show Wokingham has the third lowest teenage conception rate in England.
The number of girls aged 15 to 17 falling pregnant in the borough fell by 39 per cent from 79 in 1998 to 51 in 2009.
Services offered to young people to help tackle teenage pregnancy include a C-Card scheme, which was launched in March 2009 and provides teenagers with free condoms and sexual health information.
The service aims to give young people a greater awareness about safer sex, unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.
The C-Card and other services are on offer at Juice drop-in sessions, which are held at Wokingham Hospital in Barkham Road and Bulmershe Youth Centre in Woodley.
The Juice service at Wokingham Hospital was used by 150 young people in November and December last year following its launch.
A sexual health outreach nurse has also been appointed by NHS Berkshire West to provide sexual and reproductive health services to the most vulnerable and at risk young people in the area.
Jane Wells, assistant director of public health at NHS Berkshire West, said: “The decline in teenage pregnancies in Wokingham reflects successful partnership
working with Wokingham Borough Council in schools, in the youth service and through a relatively new young people’s health drop-in service – Juice.
“The Juice service provides advice on an extensive range of health issues from weight, healthy eating, smoking and concerns about drugs and alcohol to sexual health and a contraception advice.
“This work remains a priority in Berkshire West because children born to teenage mothers have higher rates of infant mortality and are at increased risk of low birth-weight which affects the child’s long-term health.
“Teenage mothers are more likely to suffer post-natal depression and experience poor mental health after the birth.”
Amanda Smith, head of early intervention and integration at Wokingham Borough Council’s children’s services department, said: “We are really pleased to see these further reductions in the teenage pregnancy rate, which reflects the strong partnership that exists between ourselves and health service providers.
“Providing effective services that promote sexual health and prevent teenage pregnancies remain a priority for children’s services.
“We will continue to commission these services for 2011/12, and will be working to ensure that they are targeted at the most vulnerable young people who live in Wokingham.”
The 2009 figure represents a rate of 16.9 per 1,000 of the population in the 15 to 17 age bracket in Wokingham. Of these pregnancies, 47 per cent were terminated.
The South East rate is 30.1 per cent per 1,000 of the population of girls aged 15 to 17.
For more information about the C-Card and other health issues you can visit www.getjuicy.co.uk.