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Law Nursing

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Introduction

Since the late 1800s, public health nurses have been leaders in making many improvements in the quality of health care for individuals, families, and aggregates including population and communities (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2004). Public health helps improve the health and well being of people in local communities, across nation and also throughout the world. It focuses on the entire population rather than individuals.

Public health professionals will try to prevent or stop problems from happening or re-occurring. This is done by implementing educational programs, developing and updating policies, administering services and conducting research.

The field of public health is wide and in this assignment, one of the core areas of public health will be discussed which is teen pregnancy or adolescence pregnancy. Young people of between the ages of 13 and 19 are called teenagers or an adolescent (Yahoo education, 2000). One of the major issues now faced by the world is teenage pregnancy or the adolescent pregnancy. In this assignment, discussions on the local and international efforts to prevent further increase in teen pregnancy rate, how the public health professionals deal with the issue and the types of policies, guidelines and education that have been implemented will be explained.

Background

Teenagers get influenced easily by peer pressure, family problems, stress and all other issues that can contribute bad influence to the teens. Teenage pregnancy and childbearing entail a high risk of maternal death for the adolescent, and the children of young mothers have higher levels of morbidity and mortality. Adolescents aged 15-19 years are twice as likely to die in childbirth and those under 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth as women in their twenties. Every year, 70,000 women between the ages of 15 and 19 die in childbirth or from pregnancy complications, UNICEF said in its annual report. The 160-page survey paints a bleak picture of the risks of teenage pregnancies, which are prevalent in the developing world (Straits Times, 2009).Infant and child mortality is also higher among children born to adolescent mothers.

Teen pregnancy is commonplace in many countries and there have been measures taken to reduce the rising rate of teen pregnancy (WHO, 2007). According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI), a nonprofit agency that focuses on sexual and reproductive health research, policy analysis, and public education, teenage pregnancy has adverse consequences for the parents, the child, and society (enotes, 2009).

Statistics

The world teen pregnancy rate is still high and the rates have barely gone down: from 51 births in 2000 to 48 births in 2006 for every 1,000 women aged 15-19 years (GenevaLunch, 2009). A research was done by a leading international organization called 'Save The Children', found that annually 13 million children are born to women under the age of twenty whereby more than 90% are from developing countries (Buzzle, 2008). The sub-Saharian Africa has the highest of teen pregnancy in the world.

In England and Wales, the Office for National Statistics published figures for under-18 pregnancies, showing a rise of at least 2.7 per cent in the rate in 2007 (Telegraph, 2008). This means that around 43000 girls under the age of 18 in England and Wales became pregnant, only 1000 fewer than 1998 and at least 1200 more from 2006.

Every year Singapore has about 2000 new teenage pregnancy cases. HPB-MOE did a survey in 2006 involving about 4000 students aged 14 to 19 on sexual attitudes and behavior of our students in 2006, and found that the prevalence of sexual activity among our students is about 8% (XXXXX). Singapore education minister said that the number of teenage pregnancies in Singapore has held steady, averaging about 8.4 per 1,000. This is not as high as in Australia and England where the teenage pregnancy rate is 16.3 per 1000 for 2004 and 41.7 per 1,000 for 2007 respectively (Tan, 2009).

Factors Contributing to Teen Pregnancy

Teenagers today are exposed to all kinds of information and it is easy to obtain information through internet, media and magazines. This will lead to a negative outcome if the information gathered by the teen is negative information. Chat programs, internet messaging and even e-mails can be used to promote casual sex.

There are four main causes of teen pregnancy which are poverty, dysfunctional family, early school failure and early behavior problems (MCPTP, 2009). People are living in poverty if their income and resources (material, cultural and social) are so inadequate as to preclude them from having a standard of living which is regarded as acceptable by Irish society generally(Office of Social Inclusion, 2009). Teens raised in poor or in areas which are more likely to be polluted, with lousy food and lousy medical care, their health will probably peak at around ages 17-19. That makes the teenage years a much better time to give birth than later years. Among the poor black girls and women, the infant mortality rate is twice as high among those who wait until their 20s to give birth as it is for those who give birth in their teens.

Family problems or broken family is also one of the contributing factors of teen pregnancy. Teenagers would prefer to stay out of the house, spending time with friends because of bad condition at home. This would increase the chances of the teen to get more intimacy with the opposite sex which will most likely result in pregnancy.

Teenagers who dropped out of school early will tend to start a relationship or family early and this has added to the numbers

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