Health department survey reveals 464 teen pregnancies in Kovai last year

Efforts are made to prevent child marriages with the support of Social Welfare and Police departments, based on the information.
For representational purposes
For representational purposes

COIMBATORE: A total of 464 teenage pregnancies were identified in the district between March 2023 and April 2024 through a survey conducted jointly by the social welfare and health departments to identify adolescent girls who dropped out of school. Of this, 150 girls were aged less than 18. Most cases of teenage pregnancies were in Pollachi North, South, Anaimalai, and Annur, which are predominantly rural areas.  The district social welfare department is trying to put them back in school to continue their education.

The survey is part of the government’s efforts to prevent teenage pregnancies as dropout adolescent girls are vulnerable to child marriages. “Teenage girls are exposed to multiple health risks when they get early married, including pregnancy and death if not properly managed or monitored. The survey is based on a dropout list shared by the school education department, said P Aruna, deputy director of health services, Coimbatore district.

The education department collects data on dropout students every month to understand why they quit school, their current activities, and whether any of them are married or have become pregnant. Village Health Nurses monitor these students to ensure their well-being. Efforts are made to prevent child marriages with the support of Social Welfare and Police departments, based on the information. Last year, these efforts prevented three marriages, she added.

Additionally, due to the various mental and physical health issues that teenage pregnant women face, it has been recommended to establish adolescent-friendly clinics in Primary Health Centers (PHCs) to provide counselling services.

District Social Welfare Officer R Ambika told TNIE that among the 150 cases of teen pregnancies where the girls were aged below 18, 66 came under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act. FIRs were booked in 60 cases.
“The survey will help us to identify why they dropped out of school and if they wish to continue studying. Once we identify their need, we will support them accordingly. They could get skill development training through the Pudhumai Penn scheme. We covered teenage women both married and pregnant. The number of teenage marriages (child marriage) and pregnancies was at in abnormal level, during the Covid-19 pandemic. However the situation is under control now,“ Ambika added.

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