Welcome news as rates of teenage pregnancy in Portsmouth falls

The rate of teenage pregnancy in Portsmouth has fallen. File picture.
The rate of teenage pregnancy in Portsmouth has fallen. File picture.

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THE number of teenagers getting pregnant in Portsmouth has fallen.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show the conception rate among under-18s was 24.8 per 1,000, in 2013, compared to 39.9 in 2012.

The average across England is at 24.7 per 1,000 in 2013, compared to 27.7 the year before.

The conception rate in 2013 for girls aged 13 to 15 was 7.1 per 1,000 – a slight reduction from the previous year, when it was at 7.3.

Portsmouth City Council, which is in charge of public health messages, welcomed the fall and said a number of schemes have helped.

This includes the Sorted programme, which works closely with secondary schools and targets 13 to 16-year-olds who are vulnerable.

It teaches students about how crucial it is to form good relationships and develop them and prevent unwanted pregnancies.

The contraception outreach nurse has also been working to support at-risk teens who may not be on the radar of mainstream services.

Rimple Poonia, the city council’s lead for teenage pregnancy, said: ‘Our peer educator programme, which trains teenage parents to talk to young people in schools about the challenges they face as younger parents, has been hugely successful.

‘We have made real progress in Portsmouth but should ensure that we build on this so our rates continue to fall.’

The news has been welcomed by leader of the council Donna Jones, who said the city is ‘doing well’.

She said: ‘The new figures show the city is doing well.

‘The statistics are proof that by working with teenagers we can make a difference to this complex public health issue.

‘The figures show more young people have the chance to complete their education, prepare for employment and develop stronger, stable relationships in order to prepare for parenthood.

‘This gives children a better start to life and so it is vital this downward trend is continued.’