Archive for the ‘Teen Pregnancies’ Category

Hope for abandoned babies at OrphanCARE

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

PETALING JAYA: There’s hope for abandoned babies with the organisation that launched the “baby hatch” initiative five years ago working harder to get children out of orphanages and into loving homes.

The OrphanCARE Foundation, which has baby hatch centres in Johor Baru and Kota Baru advocates that every child needs a family.

While an average of three babies are received at the hatches each month, the foundation is struggling to arrange for their adoption.

“We believe that children should not be in institutions but be with families but there are several factors, mainly legal issues,” said its chairman Tan Sri Faizah Mohd Tahir.

Speaking to reporters at the OrphanCARE’s Adoptive Parents and Children tea party here, she said families had been found for 12 orphans aged between three and 12 years old.

She cited cases in which relatives relied on institutions to care for the children but refused to release them for adoption or to be given away under foster care.

Faizah estimated that there could be about 50,000 orphans in the country.

“Studies carried out by Unicef and others have shown that institutional care, especially in early life, is detrimental to all areas of child development.

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Teen pregnancies and blame game

Monday, January 20th, 2014

PARENTAL CARE: While sexual reproductive health knowledge is being taught in schools now, parents have a role to play, too.

THE New Straits Times recently reported a terribly worrying trend, at least if you are a parent. This is especially so if you are the parent of a young girl.

Statistics gleaned from the Health Department’s Teen Pregnancy Statistics Manual 2012 showed that in that year and the one before, there were more than 18,000 teen pregnancies.

This was a marked increase from the 5,962 teen pregnancies recorded in 2010. Of the 18,000-plus teen pregnancies, both in 2011 and 2012, more than 4,000 in each year were unmarried teens.

The NST only managed to get statistics for the first three months of last year, but if the average was maintained, last year would have seen roughly the same number of teen pregnancies, or perhaps even more.

To put it in a more manageable way, a smaller number is called for. The national average for Malaysia translates to 12 teens getting pregnant each day.

Even more worrying, there were five deaths among pregnant teens in the first quarter of last year, compared with 17 for the whole of 2012.

People, of course, will focus more on the unmarried pregnant teens. But what of the married ones? It’s not difficult to imagine that many of them were married because they had gotten pregnant.

More unwed teen pregnancies

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

WORRYING: A lack of parental guidance is the root of the problem, says doctor.

KUALA LUMPUR: THE problem of teenagers becoming pregnant out of wedlock has reached worrying levels, with the nation recording  1,048 such cases from January to March last year.

This translates into an average of 12 teen pregnancies a day.

While the figures paint a grim picture, it is even more alarming considering that Malaysia is on track to record its highest number of teen pregnancies in four years.

Statistics by the state Health Department from its Teen Pregnancy Statistics Manual 2012 showed a spike in the number of maternal death among teens, with five cases recorded in the first three months last year, compared with 17 for the whole of 2012.

Data collected from adolescents who sought antenatal care in hospitals showed that 18,847 teen pregnancies were recorded in 2012, of whom 4,183 were unmarried.

Family Health Development division assistant deputy director Dr Nik Rubiah Nik Abdul Rashid said while there were many factors that contributed to unwanted teen pregnancy, lack of parental guidance was identified as the root of the problem.

Children having children

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

UNFPA’s annual report on global population Motherhood in Childhood: Facing the Challenge of Adolescent Pregnancy highlights, sexual violence and poverty are major causes of early pregnancy, especially in developing countries.

The World Health Organisation warns that many young women’s first sexual experience is “forced”, leaving them vulnerable to pregnancy. Reportedly 50% of sexual assaults around the world are against girls below age 16. Forced sex and sexual violence also occur within marriage, and studies show girls who are forced into early marriages are most vulnerable.

Yet, many societies still blame only the girl for getting pregnant, notes UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, “The reality is that adolescent pregnancy is most often not the result of a deliberate choice, but rather the absence of choices, and of circumstances beyond a girl’s control. It is a consequence of little or no access to school, employment, quality information and health care.”

As evidence shows, adolescent pregnancy has long-lasting social and physical impacts on the young girls. With adolescents making up 18% of the world’s population, motherhood in childhood is an urgent global problem.

At a Glance

7.3 million child mothers a year – 2 million aged under 15, estimated to rise to 3 million a year by 2030

680,000 adolescent births reported in developed countries each year, 50% in the US alone

10% of adolescents in >30 countries had sexual intercourse by 15

15-45% of girls who have had sex reported at least 1 forced sex experience

39,000 child marriages a day

50 million girls at risk of being married before their 15th birthday

90% of adolescent pregnancies are within marriage

1 in 5 adolescent mothers abused during pregnancy

21% experienced intimate-partner violence within 3 months of delivery

13.1 million children born to mothers aged 15-19 annually, 95% in developing countries

3.2 million unsafe abortions each year

70,000 adolescents die from pregnancy and labour complications a year

1 million children born to adolescent mothers die before age 1

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UNPF report: Number of young mothers in Malaysia alarming

Friday, November 29th, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR: The increasing number of young mothers in Malaysia is a cause for concern among local and international bodies on family development.

Last year, over 18,000 teen births were recorded, with 75% involving married teenagers and the rest from out-of-wedlock.

United Nations Population Fund’s (UNPF) Malaysian representative, Michelle Gyles-McDonnough said the increasing number of young mothers meant more women were being left out from achieving their full potential in life.

She said this could lead to increase in poverty and have a direct impact on the country’s economy.

“When a young girl gets married, it will create a web of issues from an abrupt end to her education, affecting future job opportunities and a fulfilling career, bringing her down to poverty, and limiting her ability in contributing to the country,” she said.

Gyles-McDonnough said this at the launch of the UNPF Report, The State of The World Population 2013, Motherhood in Childhood: Facing the Challenge of Adolescent Pregnancy here on Thursday.

She said there was a need for comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education to empower girls and educate the community on preventing young marriages and sexual activities.

“The ability to manage a relationship, or make a decision whether to be married, get pregnant or have sex, is a life skill that must be instilled in our children.

“Blaming a young child for her pregnancy is far from solving the matter. Instead, the community must work together with law makers to educate these girls, and give them the opportunity to live their lives to full potential,” she said.


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Groups call for sex education.

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

PETALING JAYA: The education system must ensure that sex education is provided to young children in schools, said two concerned groups.

The two are the Malaysian Paediatric Association and the College of Paediatrics, Academy of Medicine Malaysia.

“There is an urgent need to educate children on their right to say no’ to requests for sex, to respect their bodies and the importance of abstinence and the consequences of having unprotected sex and sex at an early age,” said the two groups in a joint statement.

Association president Dr Noor Khatijah Nurani and college president Prof Dr Thong Meow Keong also called upon parents, the education system, society, media as well as the government and policymakers to play their part.

The medical practitioners urged for a society where “neighbours keep watch over each other’s children”.

Concern about the rights of children being infringed was expressed after electrician Chuah Guan Jiu, 22, and bowler Noor Afizal Azizan, 21, were released on good behaviour bonds after being convicted of statutory rape of their girlfriends, aged 12 and 13 respectively.

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132 births so far at home for unwed teens

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

MALACCA: Sekolah Harapan, a home and school for unwed pregnant girls here, has registered 132 births since its inception in September 2010.

In this year alone, 50 teenagers gave birth to babies at the home in Jasin.

Sekolah Harapan chairman Datuk Abdul Rahaman Abdul Karim said few of the young mothers suffered post-natal complications.

He said the home was currently providing shelter to 23 pregnant teenagers 11 from Malacca, four from Johor, two each from Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, and one each from Sarawak, Perak, Negri Sembilan and Perlis.

“All are students and they are expected to give birth between the end of this month and June next year.

“One of the pregnant girls is to sit for her SPM examination at the home next month,” he said yesterday.

Abdul Rahaman said in 2010, six pregnant teenagers sat for SPM at the home while seven did so last year. One scored 3As.

He said currently, nine babies five boys and four girls were being cared for by their teenage mums at the home.

He said many people had expressed interest in adopting the babies but it was up to the mothers and their families to decide on the matter.

“We are proud that the home has saved 132 babies born out of wedlock from being abandoned or from an even worse fate.

by R. S. N. Murali.

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Study: Today’s youths sexually active and curious

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

KLANG: Data on pregnancies among unmarried teenage girls is lacking as only those who seek antenatal care in hospitals are known.

But there are various small-scale studies to indicate that teenagers today are sexually active.

According to senior principal assistant director of the Ministry of Health’s Family Health Development Division Dr Nik Rubiah Nik Abdul Rashid, 6.5% of teenagers were sexually active in 2010 compared with 2.2% in 2004.

She said a 2008 survey among teenagers seeking counselling revealed that all but one of them had had sex.

Nationwide, 18,652 girls below 19 years of age gave birth last year 14,430 were married, and 4,222 unwed.

“Adolescents’ knowledge on reproductive health and sexually transmitted diseases are generally low, at between 47% and 59%,” said Dr Nik Rubiah at a seminar on teenage pregnancies organised by the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital here.

Senior consultant and head of the hospital’s Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department Dr Haji Mohamad Farouk Abdullah said young women (and men) needed the skills to abstain from sex until after marriage.

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‘One teen birth every day’

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

With teenagers becoming more sexually active, doctors are sounding the alarm over the rising number of pregnancies. Experts are urging concrete measures, including proper sex education and a wide range of sexual reproductive health services for teenagers.

KLANG: More Malaysian teenage girls are getting pregnant, with a major hospital recording at least one case every day.

According to Dr Mohamad Farouk Abdullah, senior consultant and head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital here, about 14% of the 12,000 babies delivered annually at the hospital were by teenage mothers with many of them unwed.

“We thought such numbers of teen pregnancies were only in Klang, but I am also hearing of similar scenarios in the other six specialist hospitals in Selangor,” he added.

“The youngest girl to give birth at our hospital was a 12-year-old girl,” Dr Mohamad Farouk said at the “Pregnant by Choice, Not by Chance or Force” seminar. It was organised by the hospital in conjunction with its Family Planning month.

The Health Ministry recorded 18,652 births by girls below the age of 19 last year compared with 5,962 in the second half of 2010.

Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital’s medical social welfare officer Nurul Azira Mahamad Jafar said she had been handling at least one case of an unwed mother every working day of this year.

“The highest number of referrals I have had in a day so far was 14. These are our children who are pregnant in their teens,” said Nurul Azira, who has been handling cases of unwed mothers as well as rape and sex abuse victims at the hospital for the past six years.

Most of the pregnant girls are referred to the hospital by clinics.

This is because teenage pregnancies are considered “high-risk cases”. A teenager is twice more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth complications than women in their 20s.

Most of the girls come to the hospital complaining of discomfort such as stomachache and spotting.

As part of the hospital’s protocol, the doctors screen them for pregnancy and once confirmed, they would be admitted and the family notified.

It is also part of the hospital’s policy to provide antenatal care and treatment to them, regardless of their marital status.

Nurul Azira said pregnant teenage girls under 18 and their babies were protected under the Child Act 2001 and would be referred to the Social Welfare Department.

by Ivy Soon.

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New Data: Teen Pregnancy, Abortion on the Rise.

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

A teenage girl holds a pregnancy test

Image Source / Corbis

Pregnancy rates among U.S. teenagers, which had been dropping since 1990, took an upturn in 2006, according to newly released data. The figures, obtained from government sources and abortion providers by the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive-health think tank, echo previous Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that births among teens had risen. But the new Guttmacher report rounds out the picture: in 2006, there were 71.5 pregnancies for every 1,000 women under the age of 20. That’s 3% more than in 2005. The increase was concentrated among 18- and 19-year-olds — pregnancies among those 17 or younger rose only marginally — and occurred in a year when the number of abortions among teens rose 1%. (Read “Teen Pregnancy: An Epidemic in Foster Care.”)

These upticks will no doubt be scrutinized by the schools, churches and governments that had been achieving some success in lowering the teen pregnancy rate. After rising steadily with the sexual revolution of the ’70s and ’80s, the rate dropped sharply in the ’90s — and then more slowly from 2000 until 2005 — before turning upward. But even in 2006, the most recent year for which figures are available, the rate was 39% lower than 1990’s peak of 117 pregnancies for every 1,000 teen girls. (See pictures of a diverse group of American teens.)

While the recent increase has been more marked in minority women, the rate of pregnancy over the long term has dropped more rapidly among black teens. In 2005, both black and non-white Hispanic teens had a pregnancy rate of just over 12%, down from 22% and 16%, respectively. (White teens have a pregnancy rate of about 4.4%, down from 8.7%.)

When it comes to abortion, the trend line has been heading downward among whites and Hispanic teens. In 1990, 43.9% of pregnant white teens terminated their pregnancies, according to the Guttmacher report. In 2006, 29.3% did. Among Hispanics, the rate dropped from 28.1% to 22.9% in the same period. But among black teens, the rate has not moved much in 15 years — holding steady at about 41%. (Read “How to Bring an End to the War Over Sex Ed.”)

One of the innovations of the Guttmacher report is a state-by-state breakdown of pregnancy figures over the 17 years between 1988 and 2005. California, Hawaii and New Hampshire have been most successful in driving down their teen pregnancy rates, by 54%, 49% and 47%, respectively. But even at the other end of the scale, Arkansas, Iowa, North Dakota and Wyoming have all managed to lower their teen pregnancy rates by 25%.

by Belinda Luscombe.

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