East End teenage pregnancy rates drop by almost half

Teenage pregnancy rates in Tower Hamlets have dropped by almost half over the last decade, new figures show.

With a 45 per cent reduction in the number of 15 to 17-year-old girls falling pregnant, the borough is the second best performing in London and among the 23 best performing in England, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics.

Teenage pregnancy is often linked with poverty.

It was described as being “strongly associated with the most deprived and socially excluded young people” in a strategic needs assessment report by Tower Hamlets council last year.

Dr Somen Banerjee, director of public health in the borough, said: “We know teenage pregnancy can have negative consequences on the mother and child as they are more likely to suffer poor health outcomes, poor emotional health and economic well-being.

“Together our local initiatives have made a huge impact on reducing unplanned teenage conceptions and helping young people to make informed choices.”

The NHS trust and council have worked closely together in recent years on the issue.

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Providing easy access to sexual health centres geared towards young people and a condom distribution scheme are among the initiatives pushed through.

A drive to give teachers, youth workers and social workers better training on how to deliver high quality sex and relationship education in schools and youth centres was also adopted.

Furthermore, volunteering opportunities and social activities to engage teenagers have been cited as important factors in reducing teen pregnancies.

The latest figures looked at conception rates from 1998 to 2010.

In 2010 there was an average of 32 girls per every 1,000 aged under 18 falling pregnant in Tower Hamlets.

A marked drop was seen from 2009 to 2010 when the number of 15 to 17-year-old girls conceiving plunged by more than a fifth.