Teenage pregnancy concern

Teachers in the North attend the NSAAC forum in Labasa. Picture LUKE RAWALAI/FILE

A TEACHERS forum organised by the National Substance Abuse Advisory Council (NSAAC) discussed the effects of government’s $1000 assistance for pregnant mothers on the number of teenage pregnancy cases, among other issues.

While speaking on the topic of teenage pregnancy at the forum, Reproductive Health Services divisional HIV project officer Asivorosi Tora was asked by teachers if the initiative would encourage teenage girls to engage in premarital sex.

Mr Tora claimed there seemed to have been little consultation on the policy before it was made, adding that it would contribute to the increase in teenage pregnancies in some ways.

He told teachers they were intending to meet Government to discuss the issue. A teacher who wished to remain anonymous because of personal reasons said at the forum that the initiative was bound to encourage more teenagers to indulge in premarital sex.

The teacher said since there were no eligibility criteria, all pregnant mothers were eligible for the assistance.

“I know that it is intended for the sake of pregnant mothers who cannot support themselves and their little ones, but it is interesting to see what effect the initiative would have on our current teenage pregnancy status,” the teacher said.

“Considering that we already have a high rate of teenage pregnancy, I think that certain consultations needed to be done with the relevant stakeholders before the policy was passed.”

Meanwhile, NSAAC revealed that eight cases of teenage pregnancies had been recorded in the North last year.

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