Condoms being handed out to help halt increase in teenage pregnancies in Warwickshire
By Andy Mitchell
Local Democracy Reporter
WARWICKSHIRE County Council is giving out condoms to try to curb a rise in under-18 pregnancy.
A performance report showed that the rate at which girls aged 15-17 are conceiving is 15.8 per 1,000 in the population. The council has not published a target but said that it was “not on track”.
More detail can be found in data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which reveals how Warwickshire took a turn for the worse throughout 2021.
From March, the county’s rate increased from 9.8 to 15.8 per 1,000 girls, and while the national figure for England and Wales went up, it was at a far more modest rate – from 12.2 to 14.1.
It leaves Warwickshire with a rolling annual rate of 13 pregnancies per 1,000 girls in the 15-17 age group.
There were 39 such pregnancies in the final quarter of the calendar year 2021, the highest for any three-month period for more than a year, although that number is not out of kilter with the region’s previous peaks.
Becky Hale, assistant director for people at Warwickshire County Council, noted the time lag on the official statistics but said that “targeted work.. to investigate that rise” was under way.
“We are looking at the numbers,” she said. “The increase is actually small but from our perspective we want to understand that and take as much proactive action as we can to support improvements around under-18 conception rates.
“In particular, we are doing some targeted work over the summer with our targeted youth support on condom distribution and programmes throughout established youth groups while continuing to do targeted work through our integrated sexual health services that are provided across Warwickshire.”
Neither the council nor the ONS published data by borough or district for Warwickshire.