INTERVIEW: Decreasing teen being pregnant in Thailand

Forward of the Worldwide Day of the Lady Little one, marked yearly on 11 October, Asa Torkelsson, the Fund’s Nation Director in Thailand, spoke to UN Information and defined how the UN is supporting entry to sexual and reproductive well being, particularly for younger individuals.

UN Information: How widespread is teen being pregnant in Thailand?

Asa Torkelsson: The Thai authorities, with the help of nationwide and worldwide companions like UNFPA, has made important progress in decreasing teen being pregnant over the previous decade. In 2011, the speed amongst girls aged 15 to 19 was 53.4 births per 1,000, the very best it has been in Thailand since data started.

Laws launched in 2016 aimed to halve the speed inside 10 years, however that focus on was reached by 2021, and now the intention is to achieve lower than 15 births per 1,000 by 2027. So, the statistics present that Thailand is doing very nicely, however extra work must be carried out.

UN Information: What extra must be carried out to drive down the speed of youth pregnancies?

Asa Torkelsson: A spread of social points drives adolescent being pregnant. They embrace stigmatization about accessing contraception, gender inequality, poverty, sexual violence, and coercion in addition to adverse attitudes about girls and ladies. Many efforts to scale back it additionally neglect to account for the vital position of boys and males. We have to make better efforts to advertise a masculinity which listens to and respects the dignity of girls and ladies.

A extra holistic method is required to help ladies’ rights and to empower them to keep away from adolescent being pregnant. Such an method ought to embrace age-appropriate complete sexuality schooling for all younger individuals, the constructing of gender-equitable societies by empowering ladies and fascinating males and boys, and measures to make sure entry to sexual and reproductive well being info in addition to companies that welcome them and facilitate their decisions.

Asa Torkelsson, Country Director of UNFPA Thailand, visits a local community in a remote area of northern Thailand.

Asa Torkelsson, Nation Director of UNFPA Thailand, visits a area people in a distant space of northern Thailand.

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We have to see the participation of younger individuals, households, and communities in establishing protected areas for younger individuals to debate their sexual and reproductive well being and their decisions of household planning.

UN Information: What position does stigmatization and discrimination play?

Asa Torkelsson: When younger ladies get pregnant, they’ll typically expertise discrimination wherever they’re on the earth, and that is definitely true in Thailand. Thailand might be thought-about a conventional society in lots of respects and so pregnant teenagers could also be regarded with nice disapproval, in different phrases stigmatized. 

UNFPA has met with many younger ladies who say they haven’t obtained helpful sexuality schooling whereas in school regardless that that is a part of the curriculum. Others have stated that they felt uncomfortable or shamed for asking for contraception as a result of healthcare employees could be disdainful and would gossip behind their backs.

Within the worst instances, this discrimination and stigmatization forces adolescent moms to drop out of college and even to be abandoned by their very own household. 

UN Information: What are the long-term impacts of youth being pregnant?

Asa Torkelsson: Most teen pregnancies are unplanned and unintended and so typically result in many challenges. 

Many adolescents are usually not but bodily prepared for being pregnant or childbirth and are due to this fact extra weak to problems. The truth is, early being pregnant is the chief contributor to dying amongst youthful ladies in Thailand.

Moreover, in Thailand, they are typically from lower-income households, and lots of are nutritionally depleted, growing the dangers related to being pregnant and childbearing.

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Adolescent being pregnant takes an unlimited toll on a woman’s schooling and income-earning potential, as many women cease going to high school.

Thai students are learning about sexual and reproductive health issues, supported by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

Thai college students are studying about sexual and reproductive well being points, supported by the UN Inhabitants Fund (UNFPA).

UN Information: How progressive is Thailand in sexual and reproductive well being points?

Asa Torkelsson: The Thai authorities has labored onerous to make sure the rights to sexual and reproductive well being for all individuals who stay in Thailand, together with younger individuals. 

In 2002, the common well being protection system was launched, giving all individuals entry to well being care. This contains household planning companies and entry to a variety of contraception choices, such because the contraceptive tablet and long-acting contraception implants. From 2021, each younger Thai individual was capable of obtain as much as 10 free condoms every week.

And extra laws particularly aimed toward addressing the problem of youth being pregnant was enacted in 2016 as a part of the Act for the Prevention and Resolution of the Adolescent Being pregnant Downside. The regulation ensures important rights for younger individuals, together with the correct to schooling, particularly for adolescent ladies who get pregnant, stipulating that denying these rights is illegitimate.

UN Information: Is the laws serving to to scale back teen being pregnant?

Asa Torkelsson: Efficient laws requires greater than its passing into regulation. There may be a variety of work to do in ensuring the healthcare sector in Thailand is correctly skilled on the brand new necessities in addition to learn how to take care of younger pregnant ladies.

UNFPA is working with public and private partners, including Reckitt, to ensure women and girls from all communities have access to  sexual and reproductive health information and care.

© UNFPA Thailand/Chalit Saphaph

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UNFPA is working with private and non-private companions, together with Reckitt, to make sure girls and ladies from all communities have entry to sexual and reproductive well being info and care.

Attitudes throughout society additionally want to alter and extra must be invested in schooling, particularly by means of the secondary stage, with a view to have interaction boys and clarify totally to ladies what their rights are.

It’s clear the federal government needs to make sure that younger individuals can entry and luxuriate in rights to sexual and reproductive well being, as younger individuals in a quickly ageing society are thought-about the important thing to future prosperity.

For its half, UNFPA is constructing a spread of latest partnerships with a view to help authorities efforts and to make sure younger individuals take pleasure in their rights, particularly these residing in distant areas, in ethnic communities, and people residing underneath the poverty line.

Our partnerships embrace working with the personal sector, celebrities, on-line influencers, advocates with disabilities, and teams of weak younger individuals.





  • Finish all types of discrimination and violence in opposition to girls and ladies
  • Remove such dangerous practices as early and compelled marriages and feminine genital mutilation
  • Adapt and strengthen laws to advertise gender equality and empower girls and ladies
  • Guarantee girls’s full and efficient participation and equal alternatives for management in political, financial, and public life
  • Guarantee common entry to sexual and reproductive well being care


Globally, virtually half of all married girls at the moment lack decision-making energy over their sexual and reproductive well being and rights.

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