KUCHING: The One Stop Teenage Pregnancy Committee (OSTPC) Sarawak has set a key performance indicator (KPI) of achieving 10 percent decline of teenage pregnancy yearly in the state.
Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said Sarawak recorded 2,099 teenage pregnancies last year compared to 3,401 cases in 2014.
However, she added that compared to last year and 2019, there was a slight increase as there were 1,967 cases recorded in 2019.
“Of the figures reported last year, 432 were recorded in Kuching, followed by Miri with 301, Sibu (283), Bintulu (245), Kapit (165), Samarahan (148) and Sarikei (116),” she told the press after chairing the One Stop Teenage Pregnancy Committee (OSTPC) meeting via Zoom today.
She said from the said figures, 58.9 percent were unmarried and 96.17 percent were not schooling or had dropped out.
“While based on their ages, 65.5 percent of them are aged 18 to19, followed by 28.3 percent aged 16 to 17 and the rest aged 10 to 15 years old.”
Fatimah, who is also the OSTPC chairperson, said while there was a decrease of teenage pregnancy, the ministry should not be satisfied as another area of concern was that the youngest pregnancy involved a 10-year-old.
“Teenagers who are pregnant at a young age are still not ready and mature to be parents. And when there are pregnant teenagers among school students, there will be cases of dropouts due to stigmatisation. Therefore, they will be left out in education.
“Therefore, OSTPC’s role is also to ensure that the welfare of these pregnant teenagers are taken care of at the same time making sure that they can begin a new chapter in life and that their baby has a future.”
She added that together with relevant strategic partners and agencies, the ministry would continue to aggressively address issues related to teenage pregnancy through a comprehensive and holistic approach.
“OSTPC together with the Social Development Council will continue to carry out targeted programme and activities under the Sexual Education Advocacy Awareness Programme (KAPS) to reduce teenage pregnancies, pregnancies out of wedlock and baby dumping.”
She said since 2016, the ministry had conducted 61 runs of KAPs programme and since then there was a significant decrease in the number of cases of school-pregnant teenagers from 160 cases in 2015 to 64 cases in 2019.
On the baby dumping cases, Fatimah mentioned that there were five cases reported each last year and in 2019, and of the five cases last year, two were reported in Kuching and one each in Sibu, Miri and Bintulu.
“As a long-term solution, the ministry will embark on holistic and integrated actions as teenage pregnancy and related problems are very intricate and complex involving religious, educational, values, cultural, stigmatisation and social support system issues.”
She added among the robust social programmes and intervention would also include enhancing the role of parents on teenage pregnancy issues, reduce the stigmatisation of unwed mothers, provide access to sexual and reproductive health services for teens and provide target groups comprehensive sexuality education and intervention.