Tower Hamlets’ teenage pregnancy rates have dropped by more than 45 per cent since 1998, according to new figures.
New data, released by the Office for National Statistics, show that pregnancy rates among 15-17 year-olds in the borough have seen a steady decline the last decade although the proportion of those subsequently seeking abortions has increased.
The figures show that 104 girls in that age group fell pregnant in 2011, of which 60 pregnancies were aborted. In 1998 however, there were almost twice as many pregnancies among teenage girls, 222, out of which 97 of the conceptions were terminated.
“The key to success was the strategic engagement of delivery partners and the local drive to raise the profile of teenage pregnancy as a health and social concern. There were senior champions from the PCT and Local Authority for ensuring the successful implementation of the strategy in Tower Hamlets,” a spokesperson from Tower Hamlets Council told ELL.
The Teenage Pregnancy Strategy implemented in Tower Hamlets, focuses on providing contraception, sexual health education, training of teachers and social workers, self-esteem building, communication campaigns and parents support.
“This highlights what is possible when public health takes a strategic role to tackle a complex local issue. Reducing teenage pregnancy is central to improved life chances for both young men and women as it reduces health inequality, child poverty and the costs, both financial and social associated with addressing the poor outcomes for young parents and their children,” said Dr Somen Banerjee, Director of Public Health.
The drop of pregnancies in Tower Hamlets exceeds the average national decline of 34 per cent, as well as the average London drop of 44 per cent, placing the borough among the top ten most successful boroughs in reducing teenage pregnancies in the country.
In Tower Hamlets there are three health services that have walk-in clinics, as well as 12 other clinics offering contraceptives and sexual health advice.
In addition to the local initiatives and the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, Tower Hamlets Council has created a website for young people, with a section focusing on sexual health.