17 Oct 2002

Call for lower teenager pregnancy rates in Tonga

6:05 pm on 17 October 2002

The director of the Tonga Family Health Association, Iemaima Havea, says the government needs to stimulate the economy to lower the high rate of teenage preganancies.

The Association has released figures which show that teenage preganancies increased 5 percent between 1998 and 1999 and a further 7 percent in 2000.

Ms Havea says figures for 2001 will be available in November and she expects an even bigger increase.

Ms Havea says the change in family traditions has been one factor in the increase.

"The traditional family structure is now broken because of the tendency for parents to seek more economic opportunities and less concentration on the family upbringing so young people tend to just go when the mother is probably busy trying to get some money into the family"

Iemaima Havea says the high unemployment rate also needs to be addressed to help the high number of people seeking treatment for STDs.