Awakening Thai society to tackle the adolescent pregnancy crisis
Awakening Thai society to tackle the adolescent pregnancy crisis
State, private sectors join “World Contraception Day” campaign
- Department of Health hopes to decrease teenage mum problem, advises youngsters to get free contraceptive services
- The Planned Parenthood Association calls on families in the 4.0 era to take heed of family planning
- Bayer forges on with campaign that has been disseminating birth control knowledge for more than 10 years
Bangkok, 26 September 2017 – Partner organisations including the Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health; the Planned Parenthood Association of Thailand (PPAT) Under the Patronage of H.R.H the Princess Mother; and Bayer Thai Co., Ltd., held a press conference on “Thai Contraception in the 4.0 Era” on the occasion of World Contraception Day, for which Thailand plays an important role in campaigning with the international community to solve the problem of unplanned pregnancy.
Dr. Kittipong Saejeng, Director of the Bureau of Reproductive Health, Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health, said that the fast changing economic, social and technological situation has a significant effect on unplanned pregnancy in Thailand. This is especially so with child and teenage pregnancy seeing an increase in 2016 when 94,584 girls between the ages of 10-19 gave birth. That is an average of 252 girls a day. Furthermore, there were 11,225 repeat births in this group of youth or 11.9%, while 2,746 young girls between the ages of 10-14 had given birth this past year – an average of 8 a day.
The problem of repeat birth in youth is of particular concern and the Prevention and Solution of the Adolescent Pregnancy Problem Act, B.E.2559 (2016), which came into force on 29 July 2016, stipulates that a service establishment will provide accurately, completely and adequately information and knowledge on the preventing and solution of adolescent pregnancy problem to adolescent between over ten years of age but not yet twenty years of age. Adolescents also has the right to receive free semi-permanent contraceptives that can be implanted under the skin, stomach or arm and last 3 to 5 years at service establishment under the law on national health security.
“Solving the teenage pregnancy problem is an important policy of the state and is consistent with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of good health and well-being, decreasing mother and child mortality, and preventing underweight babies and unsafe abortions. Teenage pregnancy can also lead to social problems such as abandoned children growing up in low-quality childhood and lacking educational opportunities,” Dr. Kittipong said.
Prof. Dr. Surasak Taneepanichskul, President of the Planned Parenthood Association of Thailand (PPAT) Under the Patronage of H.R.H the Princess Mother, said that Thailand is stepping into the 4.0 era and the younger generation should pay more attention to family planning. Pregnancy at a young age when they are not ready will have negative effect on not only themselves but also the economy and all of society.
The association has policies that are consistent with those of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and aims to make progress alongside the rest of the world. It supports the use of technology and social media to communicate with targeted population groups and embraces the Thailand 4.0 policy.
Speaking for private sector cooperation, Dr. Paneeya Sutabutra, Country Medical Director of Bayer Thai Co.,Ltd., said: “As one of the pharmaceutical market leaders with expertise in a variety of contraceptive products, Bayer Thai has continuously supported the family planning programmes of a network of governmental and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) for more than 10 years. The company intends to participate in addressing the problem of unplanned pregnancy, especially among children and teenagers who are also facing a problem of recurrent pregnancy. One important cause of this is the lack of knowledge and correct understanding about appropriate contraception.”
“Thus, the company is cooperating with the Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health, and the Planned Parenthood Association of Thailand (PPAT) Under the Patronage of H.R.H the Princess Mother, to solve the problem strategically. This is being done through promoting and disseminating knowledge about correct and effective contraception. It will help children and teenage girls gain access to knowledge about contraceptives that are appropriate to teen behaviour such as hormonal contraceptives,” Dr. Paneeya said.
Bayer has for nearly 50 years participated in campaigns to tackle the problem of teenage and unprepared pregnancy in the global community.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the World Contraception Day, the website www.your-life.com has published the report “The Youth and Contraception Report: A Survey of Global Youth Perceptions of Sex and Contraception” which says that worldwide 208 million women get pregnant each year. Of this number, 41% have unplanned pregnancies and half of them decided to get abortion.
www.your-life.com also carried out a survey of 3,013 young people between 13-25 years old in 15 countries on their attitude towards birth control. Most responded to questionnaires saying they knew the importance of birth control, yet 64.5% of them have had sex without protection. And 90.3% wanted the issue of birth control to be spoken about publicly in a matter-of-fact fashion and not treated as a forbidden subject for discussion as at present.
“All parties must continue the campaign to disseminate knowledge about contraception because survey results from all over the world and from Thailand found that teenagers are not sufficiently knowledgeable about it. Society still looks at birth control as a forbidden subject and consequently teenagers often have sex without contraceptives which end in unplanned pregnancies,” the report said.
For Thailand, www.your-life.com surveyed 201 youngsters between the ages of 13-25 and found that 87.1% know the importance of birth control but still 60.2% of those who have sex do not take contraceptives. They gave various reasons such as interference in the joy of having sex, lack of contraceptives, forgetfulness, willingness to take risk, and a belief that they won’t get pregnant.
The majority of Thai teenagers said they obtained knowledge about contraceptives from educational institutes but many feel that they are given insufficient information and go to the internet to explore the subject on their own. Their favoured contraceptives include condoms, sterilisation and contraceptive pills. What is worrying, however, is that some youth believe that withdrawal and having sex 7 days before or 7 days after menstruation, are reliable birth control methods.
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Thitipa Laxanaphisuth, Country Communications Lead
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