In a bid to prevent premature pregnancy among Thai teens, Health Department Chief Dr Wachira Pengchan is calling for girls aged 10 to 20 to receive a free contraceptive implant at any of the nationwide medical facilities registered for Universal Coverage (UC) under the National Health Security Office (NHSO).
Wachira said the high number of teenage pregnancies, including serial births, was of great concern to his department, hence the support for contraceptive implants and intrauterine devices. “The contraceptive implant is very effective – even more than birth control pills, which the person could forget to take,” he said. About 100,000 Thai teenagers give birth each year, with about 16 per cent of those from a second or further pregnancy. The department has spent the past three years campaigning for the use of contraceptive implants among teenage mothers and so far, 70 per cent of them have had the implants, he said. Wachira added that the Prevention and Solution of the Adolescent Pregnancy
Problem Act 2016 was in place to help reduce the number of pregnant teens. The contraceptive implant is hormonebased and highly effective, approved in more than 60 countries and used by millions of women around the world. The typical implant is a small flexible tube measuring about 40mm in length and is inserted under the skin (typically in the upper arm) by a health care professional. After it is inserted it prevents pregnancy by releasing hormones that prevent ovaries from releasing eggs and thicken cervical mucous. Benefits of the implant include fewer, lighter periods; improved symptoms of premenstrual syndrome; long-lasting, up to three years; smoker- and breastfeedingsafe; and the convenience of not needing to remember to use it every day.