Education Ministry focuses on prevention in addressing teen pregnancies

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Friday, June 28, 2013 | 9:46 AM

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Permanent Secretary in the Education Ministry, Elaine Foster Allen, says that focus will be placed on prevention in reducing teen pregnancies in Jamaica.

She said that the Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) programme will be bolstered to reflect this focus, with a strong prevention message that seeks to identify and address the factors contributing to teen pregnancy.

“It is important that the message is about prevention rather than cure, and that is why we need to strengthen the HFLE programme. We have to make it common sense not to get pregnant as a teenager,” she stated.

She was addressing a meeting at the Ministry on Wednesday (June 26)  with the visiting delegation from Burkina Faso, held by the First Lady of the West African country, Her Excellency Chantal Compaoré.

The strengthening of the HFLE programme, is one of several strategies being undertaken by the administration as part of its National Policy on Reintegrating School-aged Mothers into the Formal School System. The policy, which becomes effective September this year, aims to ensure that all adolescent mothers are able to complete their formal education.

The HFLE aims to mentally and physically prepare the nation’s youth for various changes and challenges they may experience on the journey to adulthood. The programme seeks to aid students in developing the skills required to make healthy life choices and to maintain the behaviours that make for their good health and support a better society.

Prevention messages will be integrated in school-based and national Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) and HFLE programmes. Men and boys, who father the children of student mothers will also be targeted through the programmes of the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) and their ongoing partnerships with the security and justice sectors, the Permanent Secretary, said.

According to data from the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) approximately 3,000 girls, 17 years and under, account for 18 per cent of all live births per year.

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