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Teenage pregnancy figures at all time high

PUBLISHED: 14:33 05 March 2009 | UPDATED: 16:00 07 September 2010

Robyn Rosen A TEENAGE mum from Muswell Hill has called for better sex education in schools as new figures show Haringey has among the worst teenage pregnancy rates in London. The latest figures, released by the Office of National Statistics last week show

Robyn Rosen

A TEENAGE mum from Muswell Hill has called for better sex education in schools as new figures show Haringey has among the worst teenage pregnancy rates in London.

The latest figures, released by the Office of National Statistics last week show there were 248 conceptions among under-18 year-olds in the borough in 2007 - five per cent higher than the previous year.

This translates to 70 per 1,000 teenagers in Haringey becoming pregnant in 2007, almost double the London average of 45.6 per 1,000.

Critics have blamed the rise on poor sex education and the closure of family planning clinics across the borough including the Fortis Green clinic in March 2007.

Teen mum Maybel Obeng, of Queens Avenue, had daughter Kandra, now two, at the age of 17 with a 28-year-old boyfriend while she was still at college.

"It wasn't planned," she said. "I wasn't feeling well and I went to the clinic. I had actually gone to speak about contraception but it turned out I was too late.

"I wanted to have a termination but mum told me I shouldn't because she doesn't support those acts."

Maybel, now 19, said that her sex education was not adequate.

"I learnt sex education the science way," she said. "We watched a video of a man and woman standing naked and a description of body parts.

"But they should be telling you the consequences. Sex education should be for Years 5 and 6 because lots of young girls are having sex.

"I think teenagers have babies because of boredom.

"If people don't want to achieve anything or don't want to go through education and don't have activities going on, they find someone who is usually the wrong person and end up having babies.

"Some people think when they have a child it will be easy but not everyone can cope. I was lucky to have my mum support me but other people don't have that."

A spokesman from Marie Stopes International, the UK's biggest sexual health clinic provider, said that sex education needed to be vastly improved and added that family planning clinics needed to be reopened across the borough.

"These rises are disappointing and buck the national trend," he said.

"Questions must be asked of the local authority as to whether they are properly grappling and implementing the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy.

"All the clinics that have closed need to be re-opened and more investment needs to be put into them."

Gail Engert, Lib Dem young people spokeswoman, said: "These are truly shocking figures for both teenage pregnancy and abortion.

"There needs to be a truly radical plan of action to address this situation, which has probably been aggravated by the closure of local family planning clinics by the Primary Care Trust."

Cllr Lorna Reith, cabinet member for children and young people, said that despite spending £272,600 supporting the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy and providing sex education in all schools, there were no easy answers to Haringey's problems.

"This is something we are keen to address but there are no easy answers here," she said.

"This is a complicated issue and the reasons for the increase are not clear.

"We will take expert guidance to see if there are any actions we might take to get these figures down."

A spokeswoman from NHS Haringey (formerly Haringey TPCT) added that the rise was not attributable to just one factor, such as the clinic closures and that it was much more complex.

"This is a complex issue, and there is no simple answer," she said.

"NHS Haringey and partners are working on a range of initiatives to reduce teenage pregnancy.


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