Teen pregnancy rates in Tower Hamlets halved since 1998

The teenage pregnancy rate in Tower Hamlets has sharply fallen

The teenage pregnancy rate in Tower Hamlets has sharply fallen - Credit: Archant

Teenage pregnancy rates among 15-17 year-olds in Tower Hamlets halved since 1998, new data shows.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show there were 104 pregnancies among 15-17 year-old girls in the borough in 2011 – the equivalent of 29 per 1,000 teenage girls. Around 60 of those pregnancies were terminated.

But in 1998 there were twice as many, with 58 pregnancies per 1,000 girls in the age group.

Dr Somen Banerjee, director of public health in Tower Hamlets, said the reduction was due to sexual health education programmes and the availability of contraception and advice in drop-in centres.

He added: “Reducing teenage pregnancy is central to improved life chances for both young men and women as it reduces health inequality, child poverty and the costs, both financial and social associated with addressing the poor outcomes for young parents and their children.”

There were 20 conceptions recorded in Tower Hamlets among under-16s in 2011 – with 13 of those ending in abortions.

The average drop in pregnancies in 15-17 year-olds was well above the national average of 34 per cent, as well as the London-wide fall of 44 per cent.

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Young persons’ sexual health charity Brook welcomed the fall, saying reductions were often a result of good leadership and support structures and a focus on sex education.

Responsibility for public health spending will be handed to Tower Hamlets Council from next month, with councillors affirming their commitment to ensuring rates continue to fall.

Cabinet member for health Cllr Abdul Asad said: “I am sure we will keep this momentum going by continuing to ensure that all young people receive the information, advice and support they need to make safe and healthy choices.”