Steve Brine MP

for Winchester & Chandler's Ford

11 JUL 2017

Transitions to Adulthood discussed at Family Planning Summit

Steve Brine was the opening speaker at the Transitions to Adulthood Spotlight panel, which was part of the global Family Planning Summit held in London on Tuesday 11th July.

The Public Health Minister was introduced to the session by prominent human rights activist Princess Mabel van Oranje, which was attended by a number of Health Ministers from around the world, alongside Finance Ministers, donors, private sector representatives, CSOs, and representatives from the Gates Foundation, the UN, and USAID.

Mr Brine focussed on work that has happened domestically on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, particularly the successes on halving the UK's teenage pregnancy rate.

He said: "This is no mean feat. Historically the UK experienced stubbornly high rates of teenage pregnancy – the highest in Europe in fact - but today our rate of teenage pregnancy is at the lowest level since comparable statistics were first produced in 1969."

Steve told the session how a combination of factors had come together, including strong leadership at national and local level, as well as the recognition that reducing teenage pregnancy is not just a health issue, but is everyone's business.

He said: "Only by implementing a comprehensive and sustained evidence-based approach that worked across central and local government was it possible.

"Of course ensuring teenagers have access to timely, accurate, age-appropriate and gender-responsive information on contraception and sexual health remains a crucial element of our strategy. But we do not see teenage pregnancy solely as a health issue and recognised from the start the need to engage a whole range of partners."

He went on to explain how government had empowered local authorities, health partners and frontline practitioners – the people on the ground who understand young people and their communities – and how it was after that we saw pregnancy rates decline.

He added: "Only through sustained action have we seen rates go down and continue to decline. And only through strong efforts to build support for the strategy across the political spectrum was this possible. Importantly maintaining our commitment and priority to reducing teenage pregnancy has outlived changes in government administration.

"So I stand here today to say that while the task can seem daunting, impossible even, it really is possible to halve rates of teenage pregnancy in a decade, so long as we prioritise the issue and work together and bring in partners from across and beyond government to implement sustained, multi-sectoral, evidence-based interventions."

Pictured; Steve Brine addresses the Transitions to Adulthood session at the Family Planning Summit

 

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Learn more about the Family Planning Summit here

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