NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has launched a campaign urging parents to be more informative to their children from a young age about puberty, sexual health and relationships.
“Schools have failed so far in terms of educating young people on these issues and teenage pregnancies have gone through the roof,” said Jo Zinger, the health board’s senior health improvement officer. I don’t think it’s solely their fault and schools will still have a role to play, but this campaign is about helping parents to ensure they offer the right guidance to their children at the right time.”
Scotland has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in western Europe, at 7.1 pregnancies per 1,000 girls under the age of 16 in 2010.
NHS Fife had the highest teenage pregnancy rate in 2010 for under-16s, at 9.2 per 1,000.
In the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area, the pregnancy rate for those under 16 in 2010 was 6.8 per 1,000, down from 7.3 in 2009, but a rise from 6.3 in 2001.
However, the health board denied
reports that the new emphasis on parents relegated the role of schools in addressing sexual health issues. Its campaign was about promoting existing services, such as Talk 2, which encourages parents to be open with their children in order to “normalise” and
“demystify” the process of growing up.
Catriona Renfrew, director of corporate planning and policy for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “Schools remain absolutely key to ensuring that we tackle these issues.
“There is no change to our current policy. The Talk 2 programme is about widening our approach to offer support to parents and it is entirely misleading to present it as a change in policy on the role of schools.
“Sexual health for young people is an important issue and (we are) committed to working on a range of fronts to lower teen pregnancies and help young people feel more confident about their sexuality.”
A spokesman for the Scottish government said: “It is for schools and local authorities to decide how to deliver lessons on relationships, sexual health and parenthood in consultation with parents and carers to reinforce learning at home.”
For details on Talk 2, visit www.talk2glasgow.com