Teenage pregnancy conference

SUFFOLK is to host its first teenage pregnancy conference at the end of this month.Officials from health, education and social care will join with community workers to hear about the latest work being done to combat the issue.

SUFFOLK is to host its first teenage pregnancy conference at the end of this month.

Officials from health, education and social care will join with community workers to hear about the latest work being done to combat the issue.

Speakers at the Getting it Right conference will include David Jeffrey, head of the government's Teenage Pregnancy Unit, and Geraldine McCormack from the Health Development Agency.

Over 100 delegates are expected to attend.

This year Britain was revealed as having the worst teen pregnancy rate in Europe.

There were 29 teenage pregnancies per 1,000 teenage girls in Suffolk in 2001.

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While this is below the national average of 33, it still compares poorly with countries like Switzerland, Holland, France and Italy where the averages were all below ten girls per 1,000.

During the conference, a specially-written interactive drama will be performed and delegates will be able to take part in a number of interactive workshops on issues such as sexuality awareness issues and young fathers.

Sharon Singleton, Suffolk's teenage pregnancy co-ordinator and the lead on the conference, said: "Having high-profile speakers will give a real boost for the many teams who work with young people across the length and breadth of the county.

"With speakers such as David Jeffrey, we will be in a position to highlight the broad spectrum of initiatives that we have implemented over the last twelve months - at a national level.

"However, this conference is not only about celebrating the work that has been undertaken over the last couple of years, it's also about focusing on the task ahead and how best we can combat the issues surrounding teenage pregnancy."

There are still a few places left for professionals who work with young people in Suffolk - in health care, education, social care or in the community.

Mrs Singleton said: "I hope people who would like to attend jump at the chance to see how, across the county, we are working together to reduce unwanted teenage pregnancies and improve the sexual health of young people over the next two years."

The conference will be held at the Ufford Park hotel in Melton on October 20 from 9.30am to 4pm.

Anyone wishing to attend should contact Suffolk's teenage pregnancy team on 01473 261915.

Do you think enough is being done to combat unwanted teenage pregnancies? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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