Fife has the second highest rate of under-16 pregnancies in Scotland — despite a drop in rates among some of the region’s most deprived communities.
Cowdenbeath councillors were told that sexual health projects are having a positive impact in tackling the matter in the local area, but that work was continuing to reduce rates further.
The teenage pregnancy rate among some of Fife’s most deprived communities has halved since 2010, while the national average rate among the under-16’s is currently down to three per 100.
NHS Fife divisional general manager Julie Paterson said: “Despite the figure remaining higher than the Scottish average, there has been a 50% reduction in teenage pregnancies in Cowdenbeath since 2010.
“There are a range of services available to young people to address teenage pregnancies in the Cowdenbeath area.
“A sexual health service is accessible every Tuesday, with daytime and evening appointments available, whilst school aged young people can access the Hub+ service using a text line booking system.”
Lochgelly High School, which takes in pupils from Ballingry, Lochore, Lochgelly and Cardenden, was one of the region’s schools worst affected by teenage pregnancy.
A team of NHS Fife and Fife Council staff found a lack of self-esteem and low aspirations was part of the problem.
A number of initiatives were introduced, including a peer programme where older pupils help teach younger pupils about the consequences of risk taking.
Ms Paterson said: “For the past six years, a peer education programme has also been delivered within Lochgelly High School, with the addition of single sex issue based groups, to focus on reducing risk taking behaviours.
“This work is done in partnership with Fife Council and we continue to work with all agencies to further reduce teenage pregnancies in Cowdenbeath.”
The yearly rate of pregnancies among the under-16s for Cowdenbeath was calculated at 5.9 per 1000 – nearly twice the national average.
However, this figure for 2015 took into account data for the previous five years.
“The teenage pregnancy rate for Cowdenbeath in the area committee report relates to conceptions over a five year period, whereas the national and Fife figures relate to conceptions over a one year period,” said Ms Paterson.
“Comparable five year figures for Fife and Scotland would be 5.3 and 4.6 per 1000 people respectively.”
Fife took over from Tayside as having the highest rate of pregnancies among the under-16s in 2009, when the rate for the region peaked at 10.5 per 1000.