Published Tuesday 18 September 2018 at 11:49
A long-term partnership approach to reducing teenage pregnancies in Blackburn with Darwen has seen rates fall to an all-time low, latest figures show.
Conception rates among under 18s in Blackburn with Darwen are now the lowest since 1998, when the National Teenage Pregnancy Strategy launched.
The success has been credited to the joined-up approach by the Council and its children’s services, the NHS and its quality sexual health/contraception services provision and young people themselves.
Two decades ago pregnancy rates in Blackburn and Darwen were 58.2 per 1000 girls aged 15 to 17.
This fell to 20.3 per 1000 in 2016, and now the rolling average rate for July 2016 to June 2017 shows a decrease in the under-18 conception rate to 16.4.
The reductions achieved since 1998 put Blackburn with Darwen in the second most improved quintile of upper-tier local authorities.
Councillor Brian Taylor, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said:
The fall in teenage pregnancies is welcome but we cannot be complacent. A key factor has been the planned and targeted long- term approach to the prevention of unwanted pregnancy delivered by the council, the local NHS, schools and other partners.
There has been an increase in the availability of good and appropriate contraceptive advice and sexual health services in the borough. We have also had good data from local children’s and public health services on who is most at risk of unwanted pregnancy and what can be done to support them to make healthier choices.
The good services provided by health visitors and school nurses have played a part, along with targeted campaigns and awareness programmes.
Dr Penny Morris, Clinical Chief Officer for Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group said:
This is brilliant news and our young people should be congratulated for making positive choices in their lives. By choosing for themselves which path they want to take, our younger generation have shown they are aspirational, ambitious and hardworking role models for future generations to follow.
This is also shows how partnership working can help address an issue and bring about a real cultural change for the better. The NHS has worked together with the Council, voluntary and community sector to ensure that young people have access to fantastic sexual health/contraception services provision; are educated and supported about the choices available to them and that prevention is a key part of this strategy.