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Girls of 13 to get morning after pill in bid to reduce teenage pregnancies

PUBLISHED: 18:16 16 August 2007 | UPDATED: 14:36 07 September 2010

By Katie Davies DOZENS of Camden pharmacies are offering 13 to 18-year-old girls the morning after pill for free in a council drive to reduce teenage pregnancy. Previously girls could get the drug from a GP or pay at a pharmacy but as part of its new pro

By Katie Davies

DOZENS of Camden pharmacies are offering 13 to 18-year-old girls the morning after pill for free in a council drive to reduce teenage pregnancy.

Previously girls could get the drug from a GP or pay at a pharmacy but as part of its new project Camden Council has enlisted pharmacists to give it away.

The move is part of the urLife scheme that was launched on Friday to promote safe sex among teenagers.

Wendy Gaston the council's teenage pregnancy coordinator said: "All young people have a right to education and support which would allow them to make informed judgements about their relationships, including sexual ones.

"The majority of young people do not have sex before 16, but there is a lot of regret over their first sexual experience.

"We need to make sure they are prepared - that they have taken advice and sorted out contraception and they are consenting. This is the message we have to get across to young people.

"We also have to reach underage people who are more likely to be vulnerable - not in school, known to youth offending teams, probably drinking and smoking.

"They will be taking risks other than in sexual health. These girls will be getting pregnant and going to have babies not choosing the morning after pill or a termination."

The urLife scheme started after a consultation with young people on what they thought would work.

Teenage pregnancy has been in decline in the borough but is still at a high rate, with 39.6 pregnancies per 1,000 for 15 to 17 year-olds - a 19 per cent drop from 1998.

The new campaign will include stalls at youth events across the borough aimed at attracting the attention of teenage boys and girls.

Ms Gaston continued: "We used to be in the Primary Care Trust with Islington Council and it had its own service Pulse which has been very successful and recognisable.

"We decided to make our own, taking it directly to young people and their events. We are currently training role models - young people who can get the messages out there, hand out publicity and give basic advice.

"All the schools will get the publicity at the start of the new term, school nurses have it and our sexual health education team is available for school visits."

Camden Council's children representative Cllr John Bryant said: "Reducing teenage pregnancy is incredibly important as it can be a massive determining factor in whether a young person is going to reach their full potential in life."

For more information on teenage pregnancy in Camden and the urLife campaign go to www. camden.gov.uk/teenagepregnancy

katie.davies@hamhigh.co.uk

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