Better education and social care lead to drop in teenage pregnancy rates in east London

Teen pregnancy is less of a shock for more informed youth. Pic: esparta/Flickr

Teenage pregnancy rates have fallen in some of east London’s most deprived boroughs, new figures from the NHS show.

Significant drops in Tower Hamlets and Hackney have placed the boroughs among the 23 best performing local authorities in the country.

The Office of National Statistics reports teenage conceptions for the period 1998 to 2010 in Tower Hamlets fell by 45 per cent for women aged 15 to 17 – more than London’s 27.4 per cent and England’s overall 24 per cent decrease.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, said: “We are very pleased with the results. This achievement would not be possible without the successful partnership we have in Tower Hamlets across health, education, social care, voluntary and youth sectors. Together our local initiatives have made a huge impact on reducing unplanned teenage conceptions and helping young people to make informed choices.”

City and Hackney saw one of the best reductions in country. Conception rates for under-18s in 2008-2010 were 31.6 per cent lower than in 1998-2000. The figures also show a strong decline in under-16 pregnancy rates compared to the national average.

Alan Wood, director of children’s services for NHS East London and the City, said: “Young people in Hackney are now better supported, better educated and have easier access to quality clinical services than they did at the outset of the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy in 1998.

“As a result, they are making better choices and delaying pregnancy in greater numbers until after they are 18.”

Before the launch of the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, the teenage pregnancy rate in Hackney was the third highest in England.

Rahman and Wood stressed the importance of continuing the initiative of reducing teenage conceptions for Tower Hamlets and Hackney by focusing on improving sex education and access to health services.

The latest pregnancy rates for neighbouring boroughs Croydon and Lewisham are yet to be published. Croydon saw a decrease of 22.7 per cent in 2009, while in Lewisham, workshops have started to teach 10 to 19-year-old about sex and relationships.

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