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Teen alarm

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Sunday, May 25, 2014

A TOTAL of 1624 cases of teenage pregnancy were recorded by the Health Ministry last year.

This alarming rate has prompted stakeholders to work together to address the issue at a national level.

Ministry of Women permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta said this was the opportune time to identify the root causes of the problem.

He added that while young men often copped the blame, it was important that people get to the root causes before pinning blame.

"It's about time we focus on family life in ensuring that this ongoing issue of teenage pregnancy is addressed," Dr Koroivueta said yesterday.

"We have to look behind the issue and determine the root causes and address it.

"We have to look at it holistically and I think the best focus would be on the family to relook at family life which is the leading institution."

Dr Koroivueta said parents played a major role in this regard adding a strong family upbringing was important in ensuring such issues do not occur.

"One of the major contributing factors to such issues could be the less family time spent together," Dr Koroivueta said. "Parents nowadays are more involved in social gatherings rather than spending time with their own family."

A holistic approach, he said, meant the girl child or boy reached a certain age before he or she was ready to be married.

"When the boy or girl makes this decision, the key thing is that they are prepared. They have to be trained, mentored and counselled on all these things."

Dr Koroivueta said decision making was very important in human life and that it was the only way to address such issues.

"It can be done, we can address the issue of teenage pregnancy and the approach has to be very holistic involving all stakeholders.

"There is a need to address the boy child and empower them on gender issues, address culture, family value, faith-based values and this has to be understandably dealt with.

"For every problem there is a root cause and there is a solution to it. We have to address young girls as well as young boys and far too often we just blame them and this is where family comes in. The behaviour they exhibit later in life is of value and responsibility."

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