18,000 teen girls in Malaysia get pregnant every year — health ministry

October 30, 2015 11:17 am 

PUTRAJAYA, Oct. 29 — An average of 18,000 teen girls in malaysia get pregnant each year and seek medical attention at government health clinics, according to Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr. S.Subramaniam.

He said of the total, 25 percent or approximately 4,500 cases involved out-of-wedlock pregnancy.

"On average, there are 1,500 cases of teen girls getting pregnant each month or 50 cases a day in the country," he told reporters after the launch of the national-level 'Generasiku Sayang' program by the Permaisuri of Johor Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah on Thursday.

On the matter of cases involving girls getting pregnant due to rape, the minister said the number was relatively small.

He said teenage pregnancy or early childbearing would not only affect the mother's health, but is also feared to have greater risks on the baby, including premature death.

The Global School-based Student Health Survey carried out by the ministry in 2012 which involved teenagers from the age of 13 to 17 across the country revealed that 50.4 percent of the respondents admitted to have had sex for the first time before reaching the age of 14.

"This issue, if not addressed, will increase the risks of teen pregnancy, which may also lead to other problems, such as abandoned babies," the minister said.

Regarding the 'Generasiku Sayang' program, Dr. Subramaniam said it was aimed at increasing public awareness on the importance of the efforts to prevent teen pregnancy.

Under the program, the ministry had set up care centres to provide protection to teen girls or women who got pregnant out of wedlock, as well as their babies.

At present, such centers had been set up in all states, except Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Pahang. (PNA/Bernama)

BNB/RSM

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