Teenage pregnancy is a serious issue in Thailand. Thailand’s teenage pregnancy rate is the highest in the South East Asia.
Although the overall birth rate in Thailand is falling, the adolescent pregnancy rate is still high. Based on the data from the Public Health Ministry, the delivery rate of mothers aged 15 to 19 years old was 49.3 deliveries per 1000 females in 2005. The rate increased to 53.6 deliveries per 1000 females in 2011. In 2016, the rate was 51 deliveries per 1000 female.
Some adolescents may not have people to offer advice because their parents are busy with their work or divorced. Meanwhile, some teenagers are afraid to talk about sex with their parents. They may also spend many time with their friends. Peer influence affects their mindset and decision-making. Some teenagers may have sex because of peer pressure. It may result in unplanned pregnancy.
Adolescent pregnancy may be premature and unprepared. It may be followed by a lot of difficulties, such as abortion, broken families, abandoning children, premature labour and inadequate knowledge of children care. Young mothers may face depression. They may even drop out from school and thus live under poverty. When they are excluded from education, they may miss more job opportunities and not be able to contribute to the economy. For the babies, they may have low birth weight and other health issues. Both the young mothers and babies will face physical, mental and social problems.
The authorities in Thailand will adopt teenage pregnancy prevention strategy from the UK. The British strategy is mainly about better education and more access to contraception method. Some Thai officials also visited the UK to learn more about the strategy. For instance, they visited places providing contraception and advices to young people. Afterwards, Thailand will apply some key factors of the British strategy into its own national strategy. It will be submitted to the cabinet for approval.
Furthermore, the Public Health Ministry plans to cooperate with the Education Ministry to set up condom vending machines in schools and shopping malls. It also plans to double the amount of condoms under the Condoms for Teens programme, distribute handbooks about concept of sex counsellor and promote sex education in schools.
Undoubtedly, teenage pregnancy is an urgent social problem that needed to be tackled as soon as possible. Otherwise, more families or the society will suffer from teenage pregnancy.