Teenage pregnancy rates hit an all time low in Norfolk and Waveney
PUBLISHED: 08:53 25 July 2014 | UPDATED: 12:55 25 July 2014
Health and education chiefs in Norfolk and Waveney pledged to not rest on their laurels after new figures revealed that teenage pregnancy rates had fallen to a record low.
Some parts of the region have experienced an almost 40pc reduction in the number of pregnancies amongst under 18s over a 14 year period, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Officials hailed the success of a project to improve sex education in schools and schemes such as the C-card giving free condoms to people aged between 13 and 24, which had helped reduce the number of teen pregnancies across Norfolk and Waveney.
The Norfolk average for teenage pregnancies is now 23.9 per thousand women compared with an England and Wales average of 27.9.
Tim Eyres, head of 11 to 19 strategy and commissioning for children’s services at Norfolk County Council, said a concerted effort in 2005 to improve access to sexual health services, focusing on eduction in schools, targeting vulnerable groups of young people and giving support to existing teenage parents to prevent repeat pregnancies had made a big difference.
“It is really good news for Norfolk’s young people. The difference between 2012 and 2011 is there are 70 fewer teenage conceptions and this is making a difference to young people’s lives. Every unplanned pregnancy has consequences for the young mum and young dad and our rate may be dropping, but we should not stop. One unplanned pregnancy is still one too many and if we look at the data there are areas where rates are too high.”
“We have got some schools that are delivering excellent sex education and community groups working effectively with young people, but there are too many young people that say what they got was not what they needed,” he said.
The highest teenage pregnancy rates in Norfolk remain to be in the Norwich and Great Yarmouth areas, whilst the lowest rates are in Broadland and North Norfolk.
Andy Mazzei, sexual health prevention team leader at East Coast Community Healthcare, added that making free contraception available in most pharmacies across Norfolk was helping. However, there was more work to do in parts of Norwich, Yarmouth and King’s Lynn. “We are getting the services in place and the infrastructure is there and we are closely looking at the data and know the pockets of high teenage conception rates that still exist and working with partners to do some targeted work,” he said.
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