Portsmouth sees fall in teen pregnancies

From left, Terence Rierkert, Matt Chapman, Steve Kramer, Dan Deeks, Theresa Newstead, Simon Freeman and Josh Roux
Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170948-1)

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TEENAGE pregnancies in Portsmouth have seen a drop in the first part of this year.

The number of conceptions in under 18s has reduced from 43.3 per 1,000 in 2010, to 30 per 1,000 during the first quarter of 2011.

This is lower than neighbours Southampton (41) and the national average, which in the same quarter, was 34.1.

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, Portsmouth’s director of public health said: ‘Portsmouth often has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the south east.

‘Clearly our work is starting to make an impact but there is still some distance to go and it is important not to think that for Portsmouth this is no longer an issue.’

The council’s Health Improvement and Development Service has run a number of initiatives over the last two to three years which the council believes has helped to achieve this reduction.

This includes the SORTED programme, which works closely with many secondary schools and targets 13 to 16-year-olds who are vulnerable or likely to take risks.

A nurse service also aims to reach young people to provide contraception and advice on sexual health as well as getting them to look at the realities of becoming a parent.

It has also set up the Peer Educator Programme, which trains teenage parents to talk to young people in schools, and runs seasonal campaigns that focus on promoting contraception, safety and reducing risk taking behaviour for 16 to 21-year-olds.