Statistics reveal an increase in sexually transmitted infection (STI) cases and teenage pregnancy among teenagers where STI cases occur as early as the age of 13 and teenage pregnancy cases occur as early as the age of 11 needing to be dealt with immediately.
These were among the topics discussed during a reproductive health workshop for members of the parent teacher association (PIBG) yesterday.
It was also revealed that STIs and teenage pregnancy are among the topics that are very difficult to discuss openly in the Sultanate.
Although there is some explanation in science education in secondary school, it is not enough to give exposure to adolescent youth about the risks of STIs as a result of sexual behaviour at an early stage, the workshop was told.
Forty PIBG members attended the workshop aimed at providing information on reproductive health, including STIs and pregnancy statistics among teenagers in the Sultanate.
The workshop also discussed ways to deal with the issue, and helped parents prepare themselves to talk openly with their children about matters related to reproductive health.
The morning session included a briefing on ‘Teenage pregnancy cases at school and how to deal with them’ by Acting Head of Student Welfare and Development Unit, Student Affairs Welfare Unit, Department of Schools, Ministry of Education (MoE) Siti Hajar binti Haji Khamis; and a briefing on ‘The effect of pregnancy and STI at a young age on health’ by Senior Medical Officer, Health Promotion Centre (HPC), Ministry of Health (MoH) Dr Hajah Norol-Ehsan binti Haji Abdul Hamid.
A briefing on ‘How is that?’ was delivered by Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali counsellor Haji Ali Yusri bin Haji Abdul Ghafor, while the briefing on ‘Teenagers, Youth and the Law’ was delivered by Syarie lawyer and chartered mediator Mohamad Affendy bin Haji Junaidi.
The afternoon session included group discussions and presentations. MoH’s Head of HPC Dr Hajah Norhayati binti Haji Md Kassim also participated. The presentation of certificates to the workshop participants concluded the event.
In line with initiative 11 under Strategic Goal 1 of the MoH’s Strategic Plan 2019-2023 to Establish Adolescent Health Strategy and Services, the HPC plans to run the ACE Youth Project from November 2022 to April 2023.
The ACE Youth Project is designed to guide nine – to 18-year-olds on reproductive health, including spiritual and physical self-care tips.
Various interventions or activities have also been carried out by stakeholders including the MoH, the MoE, the Islamic Da’wah Centre (PDI), the Community Development Department (JAPEM) and the Brunei Darussalam AIDS Council.