NUMBER 250• 16 APRIL 2003 • TEENAGE PREGNANCY: PRACTICAL HELP
INDEX OF QUOTES
Given that educational provision generally is inadequate as agreed by both service providers and users, a co-ordinated inter-agency initiative which aims to foster the development of skills, values and self-esteem should encourage young people to make informed, responsible choices. "Preventative efforts that change environments, provide some sort of concrete aid or improve competencies are more effective than ... didactic, education based interventions ... comprehensive approaches involving multiple systems" (Dougherty, et al., 1992). Resources need to be directed at teacher training (beyond the traditional one or two days). Multi-disciplinary input and support is vital, in recognition that not all teachers are comfortable with the issue or solely responsible for education. Work with parents and local communities are also a core element if progress is to be made.
In a lot of the Trusts, the School Health Service has an input to schools which could be extended through partnership initiatives and additional resources. Professional awareness of good practice in other areas could be provided through a multi-disciplinary forum. In Dundee, Scotland a review was undertaken of primary care provision after a increase in births to 15-17 year olds. This resulted in the ‘teenage friendly’ targeted health services outlined below (Melville, 1996):
An accessible teen health clinic provides screening and information on services.
A ‘drop in’ family planning clinic is increasing health awareness and prevention of pregnancies. The service is accessible and confidential.
A multi-disciplinary school project was set up which reviewed sex education provision and then supplemented health education/skill teaching.
A community project was established which also targets young males in education.
A teenage health magazine has been produced to support the initiatives and which involved young people in its production. This followed a review of all health information, leaflets, etc. and application for funding was approved.
Seminars on teen health are provided.
Through this work teenagers have access to health care previous denied or they felt unable to use. GP’s are not always approached about contraception due to concern about confidentiality, lack of clarity on the legal situation, embarrassment or GP personality (GP Medicine 1994). This issue was also raised by the young women to whom spoke, as was fear of being "found out" in small communities. The groups facilitated identified similar gaps to the Dundee experience an similar initiatives could be used to prevent unwanted pregnancies an support teenage parents. It is possible that rural areas which are without services could be provided with a mobile youth information centre.
McGuigan, A.(2000). Teenage pregnancy - unravelling the issues. Child Care in Practice. Vol. 6 No. 2. pp 194-195
Dougherty, D., et al. (1992). Adolescent health: A report to the US Congress, Journal of School Health, Vol. 62 No. 5, 167-174
Melville, E. (1996). Targeting teenagers in primary health care setting. Health visitor, Vol.3 No.1 Churchill Livingstone.