Monday, August 15

Fatimah: Rise in teen pregnancies worrying

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SIBU: Sarawak recorded 1,264 cases of teenage pregnancy in the first six months of this year.

According to Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing Minister Datuk  Fatimah  Abdullah, the state has been ranked second highest in the number of teenage pregnancy after Sabah since 2013.

She said the problem remained worrying, even though reported cases had dropped from 3,401 in 2014 to 2,909 last year.

“The number of cases in Sarawak, versus other states, is still worrying because their figures have not reached 1,000 (cases). I hope there will be another reduction of (the number of) teenage pregnancy in the state,” she said after  attending  a special meeting at a hotel here yesterday.

The meeting was jointly conducted by her ministry, Sibu Resident’s Office and Social Development Council.

Fatimah, who is also Dalat assemblywoman, said the establishment of the One Stop Pregnancy Committee (OSTPC) was due to the high number of teenage pregnancies in Sarawak.

“We have managed to set up OSTPC in all divisions, except Serian. Thus, I hope those (OSTPC) dealing with teenage pregnancy would be further refined so that they would be able to function as inter-agency committees to resolve

promptly the problems associated with teenage pregnancy,” she said.

Fatimah said teenage pregnancy was a worrying trend because it occurred among teenagers, who were supposed to still be at school.

In this respect, she pointed out the adverse implication that teenage pregnancy would have upon the young mothers and children, including the aspects of welfare and health.

On the Community Prosperity Index (CPI), she said it was created to identify whether the community in certain areas was prosperous or not.

“Whether we know that community is prosperous or not, (it) depends on the index.”

According to Fatimah, the meeting aimed to identify social issues and also to ensure the direction of the social programmes in every division.

“We will be creating a database on social issues in Sarawak,” she said, adding that every division had different issues.

Based on report from each division, she said 18 main ones had been identified. They include drugs, crimes, sexually transmitted diseases (STD)/HIV/AIDS, rape, unemployment, youth pregnancy out of wedlock, gambling/cyber gambling, road accidents, homelessness, prostitution (foreigners), divorce, youth migration, domestic violence, illegal immigrants and illegal racing.

“These are among the social issues that we brought up during the meeting. Not all divisions have these social problems; some divisions face only certain social issues,” she noted.