Council and NHS commit to reducing teen pregnancies

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NHS Borders and Scottish Borders Council have reacting to new pregnancy figures for the region by saying they are committed to reducing teenage pregnancy rates.

Figures from 2013 released by the Information Services Division showed that NHS Borders recorded the highest rate in Scotland in the under 16 age group, with 5.8 per 1,000 population. However the increase was from eight pregnancies to 11, illustrating that the region has a consistently low number in that age group.

The Borders has a multi-disciplinary team approach to reducing teenage pregnancy, which combines information, education and sexual health services.

In all secondary schools and youth services healthy relationships are promoted based on respect and equality. Although educational programmes encourage young people to delay sexual activity, they also recognise that the sexually active require clear messages about contraception and access to confidential and approachable sexual health services.

Interim joint director of public health Dr Tim Patterson said: “All local agencies are committed to reducing early sexual activity by improving the self-esteem, motivation and achievement of young people. We will continue to support and improve access to local sexual health services and work to address the inequalities which are closely linked to teenage pregnancies to ensure that young people have the best opportunities in life.”

Councillor Catriona Bhatia, executive member for health service said: “The Borders has had a consistently low number of pregnancies in the under 16 age group for a number of years. This is proof of the hard work carried out by local sexual health and education professionals. However we will continue to make this a high priority for local partnership working.”