JIS News

The Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation continues to provide tangible support for teenage mothers. For the fiscal year 2005/06, through its programme for adolescent mothers, the Foundation enrolled 919 new teen mothers. Of these, 818 students were in the 16 and under age group, with 679 enrolled in high school at the time of pregnancy. As contained in the Foundation’s annual report for the period, which was tabled in the House last week, 768 girls were returned to the formal school system. “They continued to serve in various positions of responsibilities and to perform satisfactorily in their respective academic subjects,” the report points out. With family planning remaining a critical component to the overall counselling progamme, the girls were informed about all the available methods of contraception, and with their parents’ consent, were encouraged to accept one of these.
“This measure ensures that the girls complete their secondary level education before another pregnancy occurs. During 2005/06, 719 teen mothers accepted contraceptive methods through the Ministry of Health family planning clinics, the University of the West Indies fertility management unit, the National Family Planning Board mobile unit, and the Family Planning Association of Jamaica clinics. Methods of choice were: 54 per cent accepted the injection; 13.6 per cent accepted Intra-uterine Contraceptive Device (IUCD); 9.6 per cent accepted the pill; 12.3 per cent accepted the condom and 9.9 per cent accepted the Norplant,” the document outlines.
During the review period, 18 ‘second’ pregnancies were recorded, with contraceptive failure being the most common reason cited. A second pregnancy is recorded if it occurs before the girl completes her secondary level education on her return to school.
Meanwhile, a total of 275 girls were recorded as “drop-outs” during the fiscal year, mainly due to lack of financial support from the family; family relocation to another part of the country or overseas; and death of the primary provider.
Meanwhile, the Foundation continued to operate as an examination centre, accommodating girls who were preparing for external examinations during their pregnancies. These included students from rural centres, who were housed at a dormitory on the Trafalgar Road premises, and required to return home on weekends to maintain family ties.
A total of 122 students were registered for and attended the CXC classes throughout the period, with 52 sitting the examination in June 2005.
Between September 2005 and April 2006, an additional 53 students joined the programme and were prepared to sit the examinations in June of this year. They were tutored in English Language, English Literature, Social Studies, Principles of Accounts, Integrated Science, Information Technology, Food and Nutrition, Home Economics, Office Administration, and Biology.