Across Canada, the teenage pregnancy rates are dropping substantially, but that’s not quite the case in Hastings and Prince Edward counties.
A report to the Hastings Prince Edward Board of Health Wednesday showed that the teenage pregnancy rate in the two counties has been higher than the provincial average for more than a decade. In 2008 it was at 38.7%. This dropped slightly to 30.5% in 2014, compared to the provincial 17.6%.
The Hastings Prince Edward Health Unit records the seventh highest teen birth rate and 8th highest therapeutic abortion rate across all 36 Ontario health units.
There are heath unit programs and clinics for birth control and other issues in place to serve teenagers, both at the health unit and in four high schools, Bayside Secondary School, Centre Hastings Secondary School, Prince Edward Collegiate and Moira Secondary School.
Program Manager Stephanie McFaul has this advice.
Board member, Prince Edward County Councillor Gord Fox asked “where are the males in this report?”
McFaul says education, employment, income, and neighbourhood conditions influence the statistics.
She pointed out that there is an increased risk to mothers and babies, and pregnant teenagers are at higher risk of developing anemia, hypertension and depression.
The report calls for a continued support for teachers providing health sexuality education in the schools, providing confidential youth-friendly sexual health counselling, and low-cost birth control.