Kelly Makiha is the Rotorua Daily Post's head of news

Editorial: Applaud Ministry for teen subsidy

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Kelly Makiha.
Kelly Makiha.

As the Ministry of Health cops much-deserved flak for dragging its heels on funding a melanoma drug, some credit must be given for a decision made six years ago to fund and subsidise a contraception for teenagers.

The Bay of Plenty Times has recently reported new figures that show teen pregnancies in this region have almost halved in the past six years.

Health officials say it's partly due to the increased availability of the long-acting contraceptive Jadelle.

Jadelle sees one or two small rods put into a woman's arm and progesterone is released into the bloodstream for three to five years, preventing the ovaries releasing an egg each month. Since the Government began subsidising it in 2010, teen pregnancy rates have dropped 37 per cent throughout the country.

Let's face it, teenagers can be forgetful and having to take a contraceptive pill regularly is out of the question for some.

We are so much better as a society by preventing teenagers from having children they don't want, can't care for and can't afford.

The new figures show another trend. More new Bay mums are older than 40.

Of course, deciding when to have children is relative to the individual. If you're a fit and healthy 40-plus-year-old, then by all means, put it off until the time is right.

But there's plenty of research to be taken into account as well, including the risks to babies and the ability to conceive.

You also have to ensure you're a parent who is able to keep up with a teenager when you're in your 50s or even 60s.

I had my first child at 33 and my second and third at 38 (twins).

I'll never forget a dear old woman telling me not long after I turned 30 that it was a shame I had left having children too late.

While most mums will tell you there's no right time but when it happens it's the best thing in the world, that's not the case for many teen mothers faced with having an unplanned baby or making a decision about termination.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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