Let's get serious

Fred Wesley | Thursday, June 15, 2017
THE revelation by the National Substance Abuse Advisory Council (NSAAC) that 19 primary school girls were pregnant last year is shocking.

Add to that the fact that there were 28 pregnancy cases recorded in high schools last year.

In fact the figures released by the NSAAC this week showed there were 48 pregnancies recorded for girls under the age of 15 years.

It is a disturbing scenario.

There were 1456 pregnancy cases recorded for girls between the ages of 15 and 19.

From 2014-2016, each of the four divisions recorded alarming cases of teenage pregnancies for girls below 15 years with the Central Division recording 29 cases, Eastern Division 10, Northern Division recorded 47 cases and the Western Division recorded 33 cases.

Understandably the cases will raise eyebrows, with the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma secretary for communication and overseas mission Reverend James Bhagwan saying they were a serious concern for all churches in the country.

There was a real need, he said, for the church to continue the work they were doing in their faith communities.

One of the challenges faced within church schools, he said, was trying to inculcate good practices, values and morals that were part of their Christian faith in creating a secular system.

Without a doubt, what we have before us is a rather serious issue.

Lest we forget though, we are dealing with an issue that hasn't just popped out of the woodworks so to speak.

The challenge is to re-evaluate our priorities perhaps, and work out solutions based on the reality on the ground.

Are we inculcating good behaviour in our children? Sceptics may wonder how good behaviour even factors into this at all.

Do we understand the issues teenagers have to live with daily?

Do we appreciate the different circumstances that exist now with the advent of technology?

When children start having children, how do we shrug aside the human costs and economic burdens?

Will teenage mothers complete their education?

Have we weighed the impact of that scenario on families and eventually our nation?

When we talk about awareness campaigns, are we able to reach out to the masses in a way that matches their sophistication or appreciation of technology for starters?

Is abstinence the way to go?

How do we factor in those who missed that message?

Do we have appropriate after-care services and support systems readily available?

There is a lot at stake. Understandably we do make mistakes.

It is important though that as parents and guardians that we embrace this serious issue and work together to address it.

The onus is really on each one of us to be part of the solution. Our campaign must start at home.

We must get serious.

Home | Top