THE number of teen pregnancies in Wigan has continued to fall in recent years, according to new figures.
However, the rate of conception among under-18s in the borough remains slightly higher than the national average.
The figures - released by the Office of National Statistics - reveal that 202 under-18s conceived during 2011, a decrease of 27 per cent from the previous year’s total of 276.
And the significant fall has prompted borough health chiefs to praise the combined efforts of public health services and the council in promoting sexual awareness in younger people.
Director of Public Health, Dr Kate Ardern, said: “The rate of teenage pregnancy across the borough is now at the lowest level for over 14 years.
“The good news reflects the help that is available for young people to make safe and healthy choices about sex and relationships.
“The partnership of Wigan borough’s clinical commissioning group and the council will continue to work together to reduce teanage pregnancy rates, which helps make a vital contribution to reducing child poverty and health inequalities.”
The figures reveal that both the conception rate and maternity rate of under-18s in the borough are above the national average
Wigan’s rate of conception per 1,000 under-18s is 34.7, narrowly above the national rate of 30.7 but below the North West’s rate of 35.3.
While the rate of girls going on to become mothers is 20.6 with an average of 15.6 across the country.
Abortion figures among under-18s also show a steady reduction with 14.1 per 1,000 in 2011, compared to 22.3 in 2010 and 24.6 in 2009.
Wigan CCG has a C Card condom distribution scheme throughout the borough and extensive contraception and sexual health (CASH) services providing comprehensive information, advice and support for parents and schools.
And since last summer, the Barnardo’s charity has been commissioned to deliver support for vulnerable young people identified as being the most at risk of becoming teenage parents and poor sexual health.
For more information on the council’s teenage pregnancy strategy, visit www.wigan.gov.uk/services.