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Teenage pregnancy cases on the rise in Krishnagiri district

830 teenage pregnancy cases were registered in 2020 amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, which is significantly higher than the 650 registered in 2019.

Published: 09th October 2021 10:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th October 2021 10:42 AM   |  A+A-

Pregnancy

For representational purposes (Express Illustrations)

Express News Service

KRISHNAGIRI: In a worrying trend, cases of teenage pregnancy have been constantly on the rise in Krishnagiri district. During 2015-2020, a total of 3,326 cases had been reported, whereas only 228 child marriages were stopped, an RTI reply has revealed.

S Prabakar, a social activist who received the RTI reply, said 830 teenage pregnancy cases were registered in 2020 amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, which is significantly higher than the 650 registered in 2019. From 246 in 2015, the number rose to 830 in 2020. The district reported 352 cases in 2016, 572 in 2017, 676 in 2018 and 650 in 2019.

Of the 10 blocks in the district, Kaveripattinam recorded the higher number of cases each year -- a total of 729 cases in six years, followed by Krishnagiri (348) and Kelamangalam (330). Veppanahalli (133) and Krishnagiri Urban PHC (103) blocks registered the least number of cases.

Prabhakar said a separate official should be appointed to prevent child marriage The District Social Welfare Officer, who is also the Child Marriage Prohibition Officer, has to work on many schemes and hence, child marriage could not be prevented in many places, he said.

J Shiyam Sundar, a child rights activist and director of the NGO - Institute of Social Education, said, "The data is alarming as only 228 child marriages had been prevented in six years and not even a single case had been registered against child marriage in that period."

On the high number of teenage pregnancy cases in Krishnagiri and Kaveripattinam blocks, Deputy Director of Health Services V Govindan said agriculture and construction workers, who are in sizable numbers in the two blocks, considered girl child as a burden. "By getting the girls married early, they think their responsibility will be over," he said.

Child marriage and teenage pregnancy cases could not be prevented in the Krishnagiri as the block had a large rural population, said Block Medical Officer (BMO) K Suchitra. Her counterpart in Kaveripattinam R Thamaraiselvi said more such cases had been witnessed in Barur and Pannandhur areas in the block. "A few corrections are needed to be made in the data on teenage pregnancy cases as sometimes our staff would have entered the wrong age without verifying both Aadhaar card and school transfer certificate," she added.

V Ramaraj, a member of Tamil Nadu Commission for Protection of Child Rights (TNCPCR), said, to eradicate teenage pregnancies and other crimes against children, the six-tier child protection committees should be strengthened by bringing it under the Juvenile Justice Act through an amendment. The State has the authority  to amend the Act as the subject concerning children came under concurrent list, he added.

A Social Welfare department official said, when he checked one year data of Shoolagiri block by verifying their age with class X mark sheet, half of the data about teenage pregnancy was wrong.



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