Wednesday, April 24, 2024

High teenage pregnancy rate in M’laya raises alarm


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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, Feb 3: Teenage pregnancy has assumed an alarming proportion in Meghalaya.
Ten per cent of pregnant women in the state are teenagers.
The national figure is under 3 per cent.
As the society at large still feels shy and uncomfortable to talk about such issues which pose a major challenge for the state and conversations about adolescence are often shrouded in secrecy, a new podcast called “Adolescents Unfiltered” has emerged as a refreshing beacon of openness and honesty.
Hosted by the Health Department, this multimedia podcast intends to become a platform where teenagers fearlessly address topics that were previously deemed taboo. From hormonal changes to mental health struggles, the podcast delves deep into the unfiltered experiences of adolescents.
In its latest episode, Adolescents Unfiltered focused on the pressing issue of teenage pregnancy.
The episode featured guests Dr Marbabiang Syiemlieh and Dr Nadeen Pakyntein, Assistant Professors at Martin Luther Christian University.
They shared insights from their research on the subject.
The episode commenced with a poignant video depicting a couple grappling with the realisation of a potential pregnancy.
Unable to find answers through conventional sources, they turned to the internet and peers for guidance, only to be met with uncertainty.
Marbabiang highlighted a significant gender disparity in the reasons cited for teenage pregnancy. While girls often attribute it to love, boys express curiosity as a driving factor.
The discussion shed light on health implications associated with teenage pregnancy, including physical immaturity of the mother’s body, reluctance to seek medical assistance due to fear of consequences and lack of nurturing skills, all of which can adversely affect the well-being of both mother and child.
The episode underscored the critical need for comprehensive sexual health education tailored to the unique needs of adolescents.
With teenagers undergoing profound physical, physiological, emotional and mental changes, timely access to accurate information is crucial in mitigating the risks associated with teenage pregnancy.
Adolescents Unfiltered extends its reach across various platforms, including YouTube, Spotify and Instagram, making its insightful episodes accessible to a wider audience. In addition to teenage pregnancy, the podcast will address a number of topics such as Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, addiction, healthy Vs toxic relationships, among others.
According to data available on the Meghalaya health portal, there are currently 242 high-risk pregnant women under the age of 19 across the state, who are due for delivery.
The issue underscores the urgency of implementing preventive measures and awareness campaigns.
Mission Director of the National Health Mission, Ramkumar S said the idea materialised as there was a need to engage in trendy and unfiltered conversation with the youth of the state.
Expressing concern over the state’s high teenage pregnancy rate, he said the podcast will also deal with issues such as birth spacing and others affecting the youth.
The department has chosen this new medium of creating awareness through mobile phones as the youth are now more glued to their phones rather than conventional banners and pamphlets.


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