Thailand has been experiencing a high teen pregnancy rate for decades. Despite its effort to decrease the number of adolescent pregnancies, the situation remains considerably significant. According to UNICEF, pregnant adolescents face numerous barriers in Thailand, including a high degree of social stigma and the potential risk of complications from clandestine abortions.
Moreover, Sexually Transmitted Diseases such as HIV, Syphilis, Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia, Cancroid, Lymphogranuloma venereum, etc. have risen drastically since 2015 to present from 103.4 per 100,000 to 161.2 per 100,000 adolescents. The National Statistical Office highlights that a small proportion of sexually active adolescents use contraception (a 2008 study found only a 16% use rate). A study in 2018 conducted by the Department of Disease Control found that STDs have tremendously wide spread across Thailand, the Buriram province being one of the high-risk zones.
Sensitize Thai youth on STDs and teen pregnancies on Valentine's Day
La Chaîne de l'Espoir mission in Thailand aims not only to empower children with access to quality education and to assist vulnerable children victims of all forms of violence and harassment, but also to promote rights to health care and raise awareness on Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) in its targeted area in the Buriram province. In that context, La Chaîne de l'Espoir local team members have coordinated with stakeholders and governmental agencies such as Nang Rong district and hospital, the Buriram Provincial Public Health Office, the Technical College and 10 partner schools in order to organise a fun-but-educational event for Valentine’s Day. The objective was to sensitize Thai youth on STDs, teen pregnancies, drugs and alcohol abuse and to contribute to the prevention of risks by providing useful information to participants and visitors.
Approximately 1,000 children and adolescents gathered in a vibrant atmosphere to the event which allowed them to visit booths from La Chaîne de l'Espoir Thailand, its stakeholders and students to learn about key issues and ask for advices on Sexual and Reproductive Health. With the support of Nang Rong hospital, participants could grab this opportunity to have a blood test and receive its results within 30 minutes. Furthermore, the event gave students the opportunity to pursue their favourite activities and to expose their talents such as singing, dancing, boxing, art work, etc. on stage in order to become role models and encourage other students to involve in creative and collective activities instead of using drugs or alcohol or spend too much time playing on their mobile phone.
The positive feedback from participants and stakeholders reinforces the conviction of La Chaîne de l'Espoir Thailand to pursue its work to alleviate SRH issues among Thai youth and, more broadly, to improve the well-being of the children in one of the most sensitive and marginalised areas of the country.