The government on Monday launched a nationwide project to tackle Thailand’s soaring rate of teenage pregnancies and help the young mothers involved.
The “Opportunity for Pregnant Adolescents in Education” project is a collaboration of the Public Health, Education, and Social Development and Human Security ministries.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said that pregnancy can affect the body, mind, emotions and social life of teenagers, resulting in domestic violence and less opportunity in education and jobs.
An average of 169 children each day are born to girls aged 15-19 while six per day are born to girls under 15, according to Thailand’s Bureau of Reproductive Health. Last year, a total of 63,875 children were born to girls under the age of 20.
Anutin said those aged 10 to 19 were supported under the Prevention and Solution of the Adolescent Pregnancy Problem Act of 2016, but his ministry was providing additional help.
Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan said that the ministry aimed to boost sex education efforts while also offer opportunities for pregnant teenagers to remain in education. Schools and colleges routinely bar pregnant teenagers from attending class.
Social Development and Human Security Deputy Minister Sagol Muangsiri said his ministry was helping to build local youth networks to support the families of pregnant teenagers.
The ministry is also aiding adoption efforts for teenage mums who are not ready to raise a child, he added.