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By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Nov 1: For 2020, the Kapit Division records the highest number of teenage pregnancies in Sarawak, to be followed by Sri Aman and Sarikei divisions.
Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah after chairing the Second Sarawak One Stop Teenage Pregnancy Committee (OSTPC) today, said of the total 2,099 teenage pregnancies in 2020, Kapit Division recorded the highest number of such cases, constituting 13.2 per cent.
Kapit was followed by Sri Aman Division (9.8 per cent), Sarikei Division (9.1 per cent), Bintulu Division (7.1 per cent) and Sibu Division (7 per cent).
She said out of the 2,099 cases, 130 of them involved children below 16 years old while 93.8 per cent of them were 16 years old and above.
As high as 96.1 per cent of the total cases were school dropouts when they were reported pregnant in 2020 while 1,237 of them remained as single underaged mothers.
For 2021, as of September 2021, a total of 1,269 cases of teenage pregnancy were recorded.
“For the same period in 2021 (January to September), Kapit Division recorded the highest number of teenage pregnancies of 10.2 per cent, followed by Sarikei Division (9.4 per cent), Sibu Division (7.2 per cent), Miri Division (7 per cent) and Sri Aman Division (6.6 per cent).
Fatimah said of the 1,269 cases, 79 of them involved children below 16 years old, out of which 1,187 involved school dropouts and 808 of them remained as single mothers.
“Based on statistics recorded by the Sarawak Health Department, the trend of teenage pregnancy in Sarawak showed a decrease in the number of cases by 15.4 per cent (382 cases) between 2016 (2,481 cases) and 2020 (2,099 cases),” said Fatimah who is also Dalat assembly woman.
Rapid development in multimedia technology and the uncontrolled use of social media as well as the surge of dating applications such as Grindr, Tinder, OkCupid according to Fatimah, was one factor contributing to teenage pregnancy.
She said adults including parents and guardians exposing themselves to pornographic websites or sharing of pornographic videos and pictures was also one of the contributing factors.
“Such behaviours lead them (involving adults) to cause social problems such as having sex with underaged girls, raping underage teens, cyber bullying, committing sexual abuse and sexual crimes such as pedophilia,” said Fatimah. — DayakDaily.