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  • Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Kevin Harvey, says the Ministry continues to promote responsible sexual behaviour in an effort to reduce the rate of unplanned pregnancies among young adolescent girls.
  • Dr. Harvey was speaking at a ceremony held on Monday (July 20), at the Cross Road offices of the National Family Planning Board (NFPB), where three million condoms, donated by the United States (US)-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) were handed over to the NFPB.
  • The board’s Executive Director, Dr. Denise Chevannes, said that the adverse sexual reproductive health profile in Jamaica shows adolescent pregnancies as being “extremely high”.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Kevin Harvey, says the Ministry continues to promote responsible sexual behaviour in an effort to reduce the rate of unplanned pregnancies among young adolescent girls.

“Unwanted pregnancy is still a major challenge for us as a developing country. We still have a significant amount of unplanned pregnancies, which are resulting in terminated pregnancies and in fact, unsafe terminations,” he noted.

Dr. Harvey was speaking at a ceremony held on Monday (July 20), at the Cross Road offices of the National Family Planning Board (NFPB), where three million condoms, donated by the United States (US)-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) were handed over to the NFPB.

The board’s Executive Director, Dr. Denise Chevannes, said that the adverse sexual reproductive health profile in Jamaica shows adolescent pregnancies as being “extremely high”.

“Eighteen per cent of adolescent girls aged 10 to 19 have had an unplanned pregnancy. Many of those unplanned pregnancies end up in an unsafe abortion. We have a significant problem, not only in relation to HIV…but we also have a challenge as it relates to sexual reproductive health. So the condoms are going to be an essential tool in our arsenal of prevention efforts,” she pointed out.

She said the board encourages “dual method use” in order to lessen the chances of unplanned pregnancy.

“We encourage the use of a condom along with another reproductive method whether it be IUD (intrauterine device) or implant. Whatever the reproductive health method is, we advocate using a condom in addition to that method because that will protect against unplanned pregnancies,” she noted.

The use of the condoms will also protect against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

The ‘Love Condoms,’ donated to the NFPB, are to be distributed among vulnerable groups through collaboration with the Regional Health Authorities as well as civil society groups.

Dr. Chevannes said that the NFPB teams will go to “hotspots” across the island to distribute the condoms among the key populations.

“These are groups that we work with, primarily persons who typically have a higher HIV-prevalence than the general population such as sex workers, gay and transgender persons, men who have sex with men, and we are also thinking about vulnerable populations such as adolescents,” she informed.

Bureau Chief for the Southern Region of the AHF, Michael Kahane, commended the work of the NFPB. He said the board has been “doing good work” in reaching out to and educating vulnerable groups about safe sexual practices.

“It is an honour to collaborate with the Jamaican health delivery system … and we look forward to future collaborations,” he said.