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1.An introduction
In your introduction state which policy you will be describing and assessing. Write about one sentence on why it is an important issue. 
Say what you will do in your essay in the order you are going to do it in.
Make sure you write very clearly and don’t make any mistakes in your grammar. 
2.Background
Provide public health background information on your policy topic such as trends in numbers of cases and who the policy affects [for example if you are looking at policy on moving health visiting commissioning into public health in local government then you will need to say something about how many health visitors there are and what their public health role is. If you are looking at policy to reduce teenage pregnancy then you will need to provide some data on numbers of teenage pregnancies.]
Make sure you provide page numbers for all your references. 
Give definitions for areas and words that need explaining more. For example, you might like to define ‘public health’ and ‘power’. 
Provide some background information on the political and policy context to the policy in question. For example, which party of government brought it in? Is it part of a particular political ideology?
3.Your policy
This is the main section of your essay. Describe your policy – this should take one paragraph.
Identify and use sources of information about the policy.
Explain why it is a public health issue (ie what impact it might have on the population’s health). 
Who supports the policy? For example, is it supported by PHE (Public Health England), academics, lobby groups, charities, politicians of different political parties?
State the contentious issues in your policy and provide referenced evidence for and against. Include at least one paragraph with issues on one side of the debate and another paragraph for issues on the other side
What impact might the policy have especially on those in society who have more, or less, power? 
What might the role of, or impact of this policy on, health service staff be?
4.Conclusion
State clearly what you have done in the essay. 
Provide an overall assessment of the outcome of the debates in relation to your policy. 

Background

The policy “Teenage Pregnancy Reduction Plan 2014 to 2017” will be assessed in this assignment. Teenage pregnancy is a worldwide health concern. Up until 1998, England had the highest cases of teen pregnancy in Western Europe (Knowsley Sexual Health Service, 2012, pp. 1-2). Various strategies and policies were put in place that saw the number reduce by almost half. English authorities and citizenry think a great deal can be done to reduce the number even further hence the need for this policy. Understanding this policy is critical in ensuring that everybody plays their part in addressing teen pregnancy because it is a multifaceted problem.

The policy is enshrined in the sexual health strategy. It focuses on two primary areas; providing unparalleled quality and comprehensive education on relationships and sex, and provision of free contraception and sexual reproductive healthcare. Unlike past policies on teen pregnancy reduction, this policy seeks to deliver the services to its primary target in a manner in which the young people trust while fostering confidence and empowering them with the knowledge necessary to make right sexual health choices (McCulloch, 2001, pp. 16).

National statics indicate a remarkable decrease in the number of young men and women becoming parents in the last one decade using 1998 as the baseline. In 2012, the percentage of teen pregnancy fell to its lowest. In every one thousand pregnancies, only 27.9 percent of the conceptions were teenagers aged 15-17 years representing a 12.5 percent decline compared to that of 1969 that soared as high as 40.8 percent. Almost half of the teen pregnancies ended in legal abortion. In 1969, the number of legal abortions in the UK was 12.5 percent.

Discussions targeted at ending teenage pregnancy have taken centre stage in the domestic and public fronts. Previous governments have had policies to that effect, and so has the incumbent one. This is because teen pregnancy is considered a public health issue (Lawlor and Shaw, 2004, pp. 121). High inequalities and social exclusion have been cited as part of the problem. In a report published in 1999, the government set out two targets that were to be achieved nationally before 2010, that is, reduce the number of teen pregnancies by half and argument participation of teen mothers in education or work to thwart chances of sowing seeds of perpetual social exclusion (Graham and McDermott, 2006, pp. 27).

The United Kingdom is still ranked high in teenage pregnancy in Western Europe. Slightly over 32,000 thousand women became pregnant in the year 2010, with significantly high rates in deprived neighbourhoods. Weak economic prospects, teenage motherhood, and social exclusion exacerbate each other to bring about social problems both in the medium and long term. They inflate the annual cost of teenage motherhood that is estimated to be about £63M.

Your policy

Despite the efforts mounted since 1998, the problem of teen pregnancy still lingers. The percentage shrunk by half in 2010 as targeted in the 1999 report. Solutions proposed need to address the factors for teen pregnancy both in the medium and long term. The bill is government sponsored, but adoption needs the participation of government agencies, religious groups, the community and even individuals.

A huge number of people start forming relationships in their mid-teens.  Some go through their teenage period without meaningful relationships until their mid-twenties. Without proper sexual health and education, the youth can contract Sexually Transmitted Infections and/or get pregnant, unlike the older people. Understanding these phenomena requires a thorough scrutiny of past policies, and governmental websites. To put the policy into perspective, non-governmental websites could also be examined.

Unfounded arguments have been put forth regarding the contribution of teenage pregnancy to the rise in numbers of single parent families. However, the policy’s position indicates otherwise (Johnson and Black, 2003, pp. 875; Smith and Pell, 2001, pp. 470). The notion that teen pregnancy is the main contributor of single parent families is a misguided idea. This position is certainly convincing considering that over 70% of the births outside marriage are to women past teenage age in the UK and other developed nations in general. The reformation of the welfare systems in the early 1990s America worked produced greater results; particularly waivers from the federal government and the subsequent acceptance of the most efficient methods of birth control among teenagers. This explanation is entirely convincing considering that it is anchored on scientifically proven grounds (Allen et al., 2007, pp. 26; McKay and Barrett, 2010, pp. 23). Similar results were shown in the UK in 1998-2010 and thus requiring more resources for more campaigns and restocking of reproductive healthcare supplies.

One of best approaches that have not been embraced fully is sex education. Sex education is important in that it can teach the teenagers on the importance of abstinence till they attain the right age; need to have one sexual partner and the correct use of protection and contraception among the sexually active ones (Cunnington, 2001, pp. pp. 37). There is a faction of society that thinks that early sexual education can tempt the youths to start experimenting and discovering sex but this is hardly the case. A thorough perusal of scientific evidence reveals otherwise. It indicates that teens undergoing proper sex education abstain from teen sex until maturity, and know how to use contraception and condoms correctly. Critics of teenage sex education need to be convinced to support the cause.

Discussion of the Policy

The combination of teenage pregnancy and out of wedlock births is creates a difficulty in addressing the problem of single parent families. The socio-economic challenges facing teenage mothers are dissimilar to those facing adult single mothers. For instance, studies have revealed that most teen mothers are likely to drop out of school. They receive little support, if any, from the fathers of their children. Adult single mothers, on the other hand, may be financially stable and able to provide for their children (Botting, Rosato and Wood, 1998, pp. 19).

The impact of teen pregnancy is far reaching. The local administrative areas and healthcare service providers need not only to provide a means to reduce teen pregnancy but also address the underlying pertinent issues that motivate or promote the vice. For example, reports released in 2009 indicated that the young people in Knowsley are increasingly reporting education and employment as their new aspirations compared to the national averages. According to this policy, education and employment are preventive aspirations that compel teenagers to avoid pregnancy until they attain the right age. In addition, it puts them in the right frame of mind of embracing planned pregnancies as opposed to accidental and unplanned pregnancies witnessed (Imamura et al., 2007, pp. 632). It has been proven that having children at a tender age can damage a girl’s health not to mention the dismal education and employment prospects that accompany it. Statistically, at the age of 30, the mother who bore a child in her teenage life is 22% more likely to be economically disadvantaged than one who gave birth at 24 years or over. A teenage mother is highly likely to possess no qualifications at the age of 30 years or more than a mother who gave birth at the age of 24 years or over (Tripp and Viner, 2005, pp.22; Imamura et al., 2007, pp. 631). High infant and maternal mortalities have been reported in teenage mother compared to their considerably mature counterparts.

Teenage girls in relationships with mature males are highly likely to experience abuse and many other forms of violence augmenting the chances of teenage pregnancy. Globally, research has demonstrated coercion, trickery, and intimate partner violence increase conception rates. Similar results have been arrived at locally. It has been shown that non-consensual intercourse and teenage pregnancy are positively correlated. Supporting teens who are already parents is essential in making sure that they make an informed decision about the direction of their future lives. This involves societal acknowledgment and supporting the decisions made by teens regarding parenthood (Bonell et al., 2005, pp. 223).

Conclusion

Conclusion

There are various macro factors that might be used to explain teenage pregnancy. One such factor is a lack of awareness of teenagers on the issue. Second is the absence of strong abstinence messages in the media that resonates well with the youth. Funds set aside by the government are never adequate. Being a multifaceted problem, it is critical that everyone takes part in finding the solution. The main concern of the people with the present policy is on the time limits, work, and enforcement of child support systems. This will have to encompass sensitizing teenagers on where to seek services. Teenage girls should be made aware that being mothers does not necessarily translate to the abandonment of the obligations of completing their education to support oneself through work, marriage, and family. As for teenage boys, they should be made aware of their responsibilities to out-of-wedlock children. However, there is no mention teenage boy in the entire policy. There is a need for the boys to understand their possible contribution to teen pregnancy.  Sex education ought to entail lessons for the boys. They are an integral part of the relationship. This tells us that policy has a gap for personal responsibilities to be assumed by the male teens. Future policies need to address the missing item.

References

Graham, H. and McDermott, E., 2006. Qualitative research and the evidence base of policy: insights from studies of teenage mothers in the UK. Journal of Social Policy, 35(01), pp.21-37.

Allen, E., Bonell, C., Strange, V., Copas, A., Stephenson, J., Johnson, A.M. and Oakley, A., 2007. Does the UK government’s teenage pregnancy strategy deal with the correct risk factors? Findings from a secondary analysis of data from a randomised trial of sex education and their implications for policy. Journal of epidemiology and community health, 61(1), pp.20-27.

McKay, A. and Barrett, M., 2010. Trends in teen pregnancy rates from 1996-2006: A comparison of Canada, Sweden, USA, and England/Wales. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 19(1/2), p.43.

Cunnington, A.J., 2001. What's so bad about teenage pregnancy?. Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care, 27(1), pp.36-41.

Harden, A., Brunton, G., Fletcher, A. and Oakley, A., 2009. Teenage pregnancy and social disadvantage: systematic review integrating controlled trials and qualitative studies. BMj, 339, p.b4254.

Imamura, M., Tucker, J., Hannaford, P., Da Silva, M.O., Astin, M., Wyness, L., Bloemenkamp, K.W., Jahn, A., Karro, H., Olsen, J. and Temmerman, M., 2007. Factors associated with teenage pregnancy in the European Union countries: a systematic review. The European journal of public health, 17(6), pp.630-636.

Tripp, J. and Viner, R., 2005. Sexual health, contraception, and teenage pregnancy. ABC of Adolescence, 98, p.22.

Bonell, C.P., Strange, V.J., Stephenson, J.M., Oakley, A.R., Copas, A.J., Forrest, S.P., Johnson, A.M. and Black, S., 2003. Effect of social exclusion on the risk of teenage pregnancy: development of hypotheses using baseline data from a randomised trial of sex education. Journal of epidemiology and community health, 57(11), pp.871-876.

Smith, G.C. and Pell, J.P., 2001. Teenage pregnancy and risk of adverse perinatal outcomes associated with first and second births: population based retrospective cohort study. Bmj, 323(7311), p.476.

Lawlor, D.A. and Shaw, M., 2004. Teenage pregnancy rates: high compared with where and when?. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 97(3), pp.121-123

McCulloch, A., 2001. Teenage childbearing in Great Britain and the spatial concentration of poverty households. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 55(1), pp.16-23.

Bonell, C., Allen, E., Strange, V., Copas, A., Oakley, A., Stephenson, J. and Johnson, A., 2005. The effect of dislike of school on risk of teenage pregnancy: testing of hypotheses using longitudinal data from a randomised trial of sex education. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 59(3), pp.223-230

Botting, B., Rosato, M. and Wood, R., 1998. Teenage mothers and the health of their children. In POPULATION TRENDS-LONDON- (pp. 19-28). HMSO.

Knowsley Sexual Health Service. “Teenage Pregnancy Reduction Plan 2014 To 2017". n.a: N.p., 2012. Print.

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