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Teenage pregnancy decreased but unmarried teenage pregnancy increases last year, said Kho Teck Wan

The One Stop Teenage Pregnancy Committee (OSTPC) led by Datuk Fatimah Abdullah reduced teenage pregnancy from 7.7% from total pregnancy in 2015, to 5.7% in 2019, said Kho Teck Wan, SUPP Woman Central chief. 

The OSTPC, she said consisted of members from government and none government agencies such as the ministry of Health, Police, Education, Social Welfare, religion and Family Development. OSTPC runs a very comprehensive program to take care of the health, wellbeing and continuous education of both the pregnant teenager and her new born.

Based on recent press release, the pregnancy of unmarried teenager increased by more than 10% from 48.5% in 2015 to 63.3% in 2019. And school dropouts accounted for almost 100% of unmarried teenage pregnancy.

Sarawak has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Malaysia. The fact that the age of teenage pregnancy is getting younger is a call for great concern.

As a society, we need to face the brutal truth that a girl raising a child faces great challenges in life, and the impacts may last a lifetime. 

The call for formal sexual health education and awareness in school were a topic of discussion for many years. So perhaps a little controversial, but I would like to suggest that sexual health education, information about the responsibilities of raising a child, and the consequences of teenage pregnancy be the topics taught in school under religion, sciences and moral subjects, as early as the student is 13 years old. 

“I call for the support of parents, teachers and religious leaders to speak receptively about teenage pregnancy to our young teenagers. Hopefully with more awareness and involvement from all corners of our society, we can further reduce teenage pregnancy in Sarawak, ” she said.

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